Getting the right work/life fit at KPMG

    Everybody’s different and providing a working environment that recognises this is important at KPMG. We also place a real focus on providing the opportunities you need to progress your career. This year’s insight into the UK’s significant gender pay gap showed that there is much to be done to remove barriers to women’s progression, and we are taking practical steps to address this.

    For several years KPMG has offered flexible hours and the option of working from home, but clearly more is needed. This year a new scheme, Empowering Parents, was launched. By offering special coaching, training and mentoring to those returning from parental leave, it’s hoped that the scheme will give parents the support they need to stay with KPMG and keep progressing. Courses are run specifically for new dads too, as they’ve historically been somewhat overlooked.

    We also want to reach people who may have been out of the profession for a while. Another recently launched initiative, Return to Audit, offers a full month of initial training (more if required), and then flexible options such as a three or four day week, with one of those days being working from home. There’s also the option to work a shorter day from 9.30am to 2.30pm, and all roles also have the six-week school holiday built in as leave.

    But flexibility isn’t just an option for parents, it’s there for other life interests too – read our profiles below to find out more.

    ‘Work/life fit’ stories from KPMG employees:

    Nick Cullimore-Davies, senior manager (Bristol office)

    When my wife was pregnant with our second child, the new rules on shared parental leave had come into play. I’d heard that KPMG had a generous approach to shared parental leave (SPL) but didn’t know much about it. When I looked into it I was amazed to find that I could receive full pay to spend nearly four months with my family.

    The culture at KPMG is supportive in general around flexibility so I felt comfortable raising the idea and my team was great in terms of covering my clients while I was off.

    I focused my time looking after our two year old, Zoe, giving my wife a better opportunity to bond with our new baby, Sophie. The leave certainly broadened my views on juggling a work/life balance and inspired me to spend more time with my children; post SPL I’ve adjusted my hours so I can make school pick up and I have one day a fortnight off to spend a day with the girls on my own.

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    Assistant manager, audit (South Coast office)

    I started at KPMG on the company’s school leaver programme but always had an idea that I wanted to be a barrister or solicitor. So when I heard about opportunities as a magistrate I applied and was amazed to be accepted. Work was very flexible and said I could use the five days everyone has for corporate responsibility work as well as an extra 15 days a year.

    The magistrate work brings a lot of variety to my day-to-day life, and I’m learning transferable skills such as decision making, logical thinking and dealing with tricky situations. I’ve also since gone on to university and done professional accountancy exams with KPMG, and now I know for sure that I want to stay in accountancy.

    Julie Breakell, director (South Coast office)

    When I returned to work after having my son Eli, I came back with a slightly different role – I spent half my time on audit, but with clients on the South Coast, and half my time on business development work. This made it much easier to plan around childcare.

    I also started back on a four-day week, taking Wednesdays off. My clients and teams respected that I didn’t work on a Wednesday, so I was able to spend the day with my son. Working part time works for me, as it gives me the flexibility I need to do my job but also balance my home life and time with my son.

    Two years after coming back from maternity leave I was promoted from senior manager to director. I definitely feel lucky in comparison to friends who had to go straight back to full-time work with little flexibility.

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