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Top employers for working families 5/5: KPMG


Winners of the prestigious Top Employers for Working Families awards 2012 were announced last week. In recognition of the companies who go the extra mile for working families, we profile five of the best in a special series. Today, last but not least, it is the turn of financial services company, KPMG


Global professional services

12,000 employees in the UK

Nominated for: Mothers

Driven by the desire to retain female employees and increase the number of women at senior level, KPMG has a comprehensive range of support options for working mothers.

Well-paid maternity leave is complemented on return to work by a range of flexible working policies. Women on maternity are matched with a 'baby buddy' who provides support and a link back into the business. Workshops are also provided to help make the transition back to work easier.

Parents have access to emergency childcare: a scheme that enables all employees who have children to take advantage of up to 20 days of fully subsidised emergency childcare, per child, per year.

Within the management consultancy, it was agreed two years ago all pregnant women would also be offered coaching, with one-on-one sessions before, during and after maternity leave. This is an opportunity for mothers to discuss, in confidence, issues around career development and any concerns they may have about combining work and parenting. Senior figures also act as mentors to returning mothers.

"This was bourne out of some of our talented women wanting to improve on their own experiences of coming back into the workplace," says Zoe Young, senior manager, diversity and inclusion at KPMG:"It was very much initiated by our people and endorsed by the leadership.

"It's about the quality of the conversation," she continues. "We have invested a lot in the past two years, raising the awareness of unconscious bias with managers. This is at the core of our diversity. It is particularly relevant with maternity returners whose line manager may, with good intentions, make the assumption that the woman coming back won't want to take a demanding project with a client 20 miles away from home. Our people managers know they need to ask the questions, rather than making an assumption about the answer."

Between September 2009 and April 2012, KPMG'S retention rate for returning mothers in management consulting was 92%.

As Young says: "The feedback from the individuals is telling us they are getting the right work-life balance."