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Advancing Hong Kong's focus on achieving greater gender balance in the workforce

Leading Practice Case Study: KPMG 

Comments from Grant Jamieson, Partner  

KPMG is one of the companies in Hong Kong that participated in the company survey as part of Hong Kong's Female Talent Pipeline Study.  KPMG Hong Kong has exceeded the Hong Kong average female representation at all levels of management.
Working Culture:

"Setting the right tone at the top internally is key.  Inclusion and diversity is something that we advocate - you need to educate people that diversity is useful.  People with diverse skillsets and a different way of thinking is really good for business.


Our clients’ needs are complex and increasingly require people with different skill sets and experience to work together so we are focused on creating a collaborative culture across the firm.  Similar to collaboration being a business need, diversity and inclusiveness is also a business need.  We are not doing this to try to get brownie points – it’s just smart business. 


We have a set of values for our Firm, and when hiring we make it clear that if any of them make a candidate uncomfortable, then they probably should not join us. These values and the expectations around them are driven from the top.  


But how do you get traditional people aware that diversity and inclusion across all spectrums is actually valuable?  How do they learn that listening to a different perspective, an outside view, from someone who is very different to them, is actually really valuable to them and their business?  Education is really important, and sometimes they have to experience it for themselves, or see others benefiting from it, to change their mindset.  I can’t stress enough the value of both the awareness and education element."


Supporting working mothers:

"One of the things we do offer, in addition to the statutory rights, is a KPMG flexi-system where you can extend your leave and come back part time – enabling employees to slowly ease themselves back in.  We operate in the way of ‘tell us what works for you’.   I understand from my HR colleagues that only 10% [of employees who are working mothers] come back after the standard 10 weeks, and the majority extend their time. We encourage employees to use that process to ensure we retain our talent. We do miss people when they are not here for the obvious reasons, but we feel we need to support them."


Talent management:

"We actively identify our stronger talent and are putting in additional programmes in order to retain them – it just makes good business sense. 


For our Advisory business we introduce objectivity to our senior (Partner/Director) talent management process by including two voices in the review process – the first, a close colleague i.e. direct line manager who focuses on performance and the second, someone outside the immediate field / service line who can bring a wider perspective to the person in question, who focuses on development – helping to eliminate some of the bias that can occur in traditional performance reviews.  Once this is completed we also go through a validation exercise with the senior regional and functional teams, to calibrate the results.


Employee engagement initiatives are key to retaining our top talent.  We have a clear strength in terms of our leadership and development training capability. However we also offer pro-bono support for example to social enterprises in Hong Kong – it’s another engagement initiative that really resonates with our people in particular as its purpose driven. It’s open to anyone, but it tends to attract a lot of our higher performing females."


Development opportunities:

"Our people can work across our different teams and offices within China. We also have overseas secondment programmes that can last 2 to 3 years. In some areas of our Advisory business, KPMG offers employees a 6-month job swap programme that serves to challenge and stretch high potentials early in their career and provide them with essential overseas experience. There are people from both China and Hong Kong who are job swapping with people from around the world, including Canada, Australia, Europe and the UK. In terms of gender balance, we see a fairly even number of both sexes taking up these opportunities." 


Return to the study key findings page below:
Leading practice KPMG
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