Global finance giant EY (formerly Ernst and Young) has come a long way since Arthur Young, a Scottish immigrant to US shores, founded his accountancy firm in 1906 with his brother, Stanley.
Today the firm employs nearly a quarter of a million people in 150 countries, and its work touches upon everything from audits to blockchain to AI. And that’s not all: in 2018, EY also placed high on Indeed’s first-ever rankings for Top-Rated Workplaces: Banking and Finance.
A company doesn’t grow like that for more than a century without knowing how to adapt—and it’s in that spirit of looking ahead that Dan Black, EY’s Global Recruiting Leader, lives. We recently had a chance to talk to Black about Gen Z, neurodiversity and other emerging trends impacting the world of work, as well as how organizations can embrace change to create more diverse workforces.
60% of millennials at EY are in management positions
Prior to becoming the Global Recruiting Leader at EY, Black spent over a decade as the company’s Director of Campus Recruiting. During that time, he recruited a lot of millennials, and today this age group constitutes “two-thirds of [EY’s] workforce.” He is dismissive of many of the cliches that surround this much-talked-about generation.
“When you hear about them wanting to be challenged and wanting to get promoted and wanting work-life balance, a lot of those things are the same things that previous generations really wanted,” says Black. The key difference is that earlier generations “just didn’t have the same amplification channels with social media.”
Black’s internal research reveals a more complex picture.
“Over 60% of full-time millennial employees are now managing other employees.” This dispels the idea that millennials are “kids at work,” says Black. “A lot of them are in leadership roles.”
Black adds that not enough time is spent thinking about what millennials bring to the table as positives.
“They certainly are digital natives. In this time that we’re living in, of disruption and change and technology and AI—fill in the buzzword—having people that have grown up with that as natives … This is a second language, second skin to them. If you can take advantage of that, you’re going to help pull the rest of your organization forward into this next digital age a lot more quickly.”
Black also finds that millennials are “globally comfortable” working with people from different backgrounds, countries and religions.
“As the world continues to get smaller, thanks to technology, this is a group of people that really understands and is really comfortable in that kind of global environment.”
From eliminating the college degree requirement to neurodiversity—How EY is expanding the talent pool
EY has also implemented some interesting programs that upend many assumptions surrounding how and where to find talent.
For instance, in 2015, the UK branch of the company removed the requirement that candidates require university degrees….