EY Global Compliance Leader Catherine Vaughan on #BuildingEquality

26 Mar 2018

Catherine Vaughan is EY’s Global Compliance Leader and spoke at the CIF #BuildingEquality event on International Women’s Day, March 8th 2018.

Based in Dublin, Catherine is a member of EY’s Global Executive Management. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in London, Catherine first took a role with EY Ireland in Financial Services Audit. This was followed by a period with Litigation Support before her move to Risk Management. She is a Fellow of the International Compliance Association.

In addition to her technical responsibilities, Catherine has long been involved in EY Ireland’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy. She is Executive Sponsor to the firm’s LGBTA network, Unity. She has spoken publicly on the importance of a culture of workplace equality and in 2015 was named Inclusion Champion of the year in GLEN’s inaugural Workplace Equality Index. In 2016 she was named Senior Leader for LGBT Equality in the same index.



Summary comments taken from speech given by Catherine Vaughan, Global Compliance Leader, EY

  • Diversity is about difference, seen and Inclusion is about creating an environment in which people are valued, feel valued and are able to achieve and contribute their full potential.
  • Inclusion is about leveraging our differences to deliver better business
  • Diversity & Inclusion, (D&I), is a business imperative. In 2017 EY’s survey of Irish business, both indigenous and internationally owned revealed:
    • 97% of business leaders believe having a diverse & inclusive workplace contributes to talent acquisition and retention
    • 95% of business leaders believe D&I fosters innovation, enhanced team performance and collaboration
    • 94% of business leaders believe an inclusive workplace is vital for business performance
  • It’s more than ‘belief’. EY’s analysis on the impact of D&I at EY shows teams with greater diversity have higher employee engagement which in turn brings: +7% higher retention; +10% higher revenue growth and +6% higher gross margin. Similar research across geographies and sectors reveal the same
  • Diversity & Inclusion is sound business


The facts

  • 112,000 additional workers between now and 2020. Attracting, retraining, upskilling available resources is essential and must include women. Currently, the companies surveyed averaged only 11% females in their workforce. Now is an ideal opportunity to redress the
  • Across the industry there are exciting opportunities for women – and men – to create new and exciting career opportunities and collaborative, inclusive
  • Whilst there are some larger companies with women in senior leadership positions there are a number of stark findings from 1,222 companies surveyed:
    • 1/3 of all respondents have no female employees
    • Of those employing women, 99% of on-site workers are male (off-site by comparison is 54:46% (M:F) with 54% of those women in administrative roles)
  • Looking at the senior roles, just 10% of senior management positions are held by women, dropping from a managerial statistic of 18%. Questions might arise as to why women in managerial roles are not progressing to senior

Opportunity to change

  • 72% of companies surveyed acknowledge the shortage of women in the sector. 71% agreed the sector needs and would benefit from more female participation. 65% feel the industry is “missing out” and 60% believe increasing women working in the sector is “critical”.
  • Employers viewed increasing women in the workplace as an opportunity to “avoid group think”, “improve decision making” and bring a “new skillset” – in a time of disruption and innovation what company wouldn’t embrace the ability to think differently?


References from CIF Ireland’s “Women in the Construction Industry”, prepared by Accuracy Market Research (2018)

Making change a reality

  • Change the perception – even if the perception is not the intended reality, it is firmly in people’s minds – it is a deterrent. One way to do this is to create visible role
  • Change the understanding – perception is based upon knowledge and the knowledge of the diversity of opportunities within the industry is lacking. The industry needs to do more to explain the opportunities to its future
  • Look for new ways to identify and develop future talent – engage with schools to help showcase the industry as great place to build a
  • Turn to apprenticeship schemes to create a new pool of
  • When you turn to new talent pools, don’t be tempted to revert to old processes – challenge your application, screening, interview and selection procedures – Do you have women on your interview panels? Have you shared with your recruitment agent your vision for bringing more women in to the industry? Once you’ve announced you’re open to change, make change a
  • Think beyond recruitment – put in place measures and metrics to track the progress of your female
  • Quotas – v – meritocracy: Meritocracy will win out in the long run. Recruit, promote and reward the right people with the right talent for the


  • There is no time to wait – 2020 is around the corner and the need for additional workers is
  • Attitudes have changed and the industry is ready to meet its own challenge, don’t miss the chance to deliver on your own
  • Work together, as a federation, to change the image and create the opportunities. Individual companies are making great headway but the industry at large needs to come together. No one company, or handful of companies, is going to be able to meet the challenge the industry needs – to fill 112,000 positions by 2020.
  • It’s time to get #BuildingEquality.

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