Hiring Humans

Building a more inclusive Early Careers talent pipeline

As we all know, 2020 was a year like no other. The world changed overnight, and we had to reimagine how we work, live and relate to each other.

Dogs, cats, and tiny humans started showing up on Zoom calls. Colleagues needed support and flexibility as work was juggled alongside care responsibilities. Many of us were working at our kitchen tables, and our semi-formal dress code went out the window (for good).

The workplace became much more… well, human.

We've long known that working with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and thinking styles tends to help our people grow into better professionals and leaders.

Similarly, the business challenges we work on at Deloitte require creative problem-solving that's best enabled by the fusion of different people and disciplines.

However, the shift to a more 'human' workplace certainly gave our teams extra impetus to double down on several inclusive recruitment initiatives that had been in the pipeline, with 2020 turning out to be a pivotal year in our journey towards a more inclusive hiring process.

We started by revamping our annual Graduate Programme recruitment campaign. This is one of our flagship campaigns for the year, contributing to our hiring of 200-odd new graduates into our business annually.

Our Early Careers team collaborated with our colleagues from creative consultancy ACNE to reimagine how we communicate to final year students, whose lives had been upturned and disrupted at a particularly pivotal time in their university careers. We needed a campaign that was true to Deloitte and our values, cut through the relentless noise in the media, and resonated in a meaningful way in the context of 2020.

With all of this in mind, when it came to asking ourselves what we wanted from our new generation of graduates, the answer was simple: humans. People who are authentic, honest and open; ambitious, but open to making mistakes and supporting others along the way.

Three of our colleagues – Dane, Sara, and Anas – agreed to accompany us into the studio for a Covid-compliant one-day shoot during a period of relaxed restrictions… and that was the only in-person element of the entire campaign. Everything else was digital-first and scaled back - there was already plenty of noise in the news and media and we felt it was best to keep our new content plain, clean and simple.

We were nervous, as this time of year was usually marked by career fairs, campus presentations and networking events. Would we still be able to connect with graduates? But it turned out to be our most successful recruitment campaign in Deloitte’s history in terms of application volumes and engagement with our content and brand.

We wanted to recognise that the world has been flipped upside down – and we were committed to providing a place where graduates could thrive through being more 'human' at work.
Sinead Gogan


Not only was our campaign recognised with two Gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards in 2021, but we were also able to reapportion our merchandise budget as a donation to Pieta House’s youth programmes, supporting our Purpose to make an impact that matters.

Putting words into practice

While our external engagement with graduates has yielded strong returns, demonstrating our commitment to inclusive hiring practices is critical. The next piece of the puzzle is, of course, real, tangible action to diversify our talent pipeline.

It is important to note that our approach to inclusive recruitment is driven by the people of the firm. Our teams in Deloitte have forged partnerships with some amazing organisations over the past year to help us achieve our inclusion ambition.

The silver lining of working virtually was that we were able to open up our 2020/21 Early Careers networking events to a wider pool of universities and locations, as well as allocating spots to the DCU Access programme. And, for the first time ever, we included an optional pre-application diversity questionnaire in our Early Careers application process. This survey has allowed us to flag whether our application-to-offer ratio is lower than average among certain cohorts and tweak our hiring process or add additional supports as needed.

Collaborating for measurable impact

We joined the CWIT (Connecting Women in Technology) network and became platinum sponsors of iWish – both of which are specifically aimed at encouraging more women and girls into STEM fields. We partnered with iWish to launch our first STEM-focused Transition Year programme for young females earlier this year.

We are also enrolling new participants in the STEM Teacher Internship (STInt) Programme in which we host pre-service STEM teachers for an internship, empowering them to gain skills and invaluable experiences of the many careers and opportunities available within STEM industries.

Our Consulting team has partnered with the FIT tech apprenticeship programme as an alternative and inclusive source of talent. Apprentices participate in part-time work and study, and take on software developer roles aimed at developing technical skills, ultimately completing the ICT associate professional apprentice course. As a result of this programme’s success to date, we are significantly increasing our apprentice headcount in 2021.

Our Development Internship Programme, piloted in 2020, supports those in the international protection process or in direct provision in Ireland. We welcomed our first participant, Sadah, into our Tax service line, and have since introduced the programme in other areas of our business.

Our inclusive hiring journey is an ongoing process of goal setting, measurement and improvement, and there’s certainly more to be done yet. But we can embrace the successes along the way; and, at the time this report is released, we’re heading into our 2021 Graduate Campaign with a new sense of excitement at all the new humans we’ll meet as a result.

Holly Bailey


Dylan Cotter


Sinead Gogan