KPMG staff advised not to talk about ski trips in inclusivity effort

‘It is mad wokery’: KPMG staff are told not to talk about luxury ski trips or private schools under new ‘unconscious bias’ training to ‘boost inclusivity’

  • An accounting firm has told their employees to not mention their skiing holidays
  • KPMG staff will take part in unconscious bias training or risk losing their bonuses
  • The decision was called ‘hypocritical and counterproductive’ by an MP

An accountancy giant has been accused of ‘mad wokery’ for telling staff not to talk about private schools and skiing trips in a bid to boost inclusivity.

KPMG has made unconscious bias training mandatory for its 15,300 UK staff with the threat that their bonuses are at risk if they do not take part.

The sessions starting next month focus on how discussing skiing holidays, gap years and private schooling can isolate others. They also highlight biases faced by those from certain backgrounds as well as race, gender identity, disability and sexual orientation.

Accountancy firm KPMG told staff they could risk losing their bonuses if they do not attend unconscious bias training, where they will be told not to talk about their skiing trips

Leicestershire MP Andrew Brigden deemed the mandatory unconscious bias training at the accounting firm as ‘hypocritical and counterproductive’

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen condemned the move, saying: ‘It is mad wokery. Surely they should be advising their clients “if you go woke you go broke”, not doing it themselves.

‘Surely “inclusivity”, if it means anything, means employing people from all backgrounds and all life experiences. It’s interesting that the “bean counters to the ultra rich” would take these measures.

‘They will no doubt still be taking their exotic holidays, but just not talking about them. It seems hypocritical and counterproductive.’

Former KPMG boss Bill Michael (pictured) left the company after criticising unconscious bias training

It is the first time KPMG has made the training compulsory and the move comes a year after UK chairman Bill Michael quit after being filmed dismissing the concept of unconscious bias. He said: ‘I think unconscious bias is complete crap, complete and utter crap for years, it really is. There is no such thing as unconscious bias, I don’t buy it.

‘Because after every single unconscious bias training that has ever been done, nothing’s ever improved.’ Whitehall scrapped such sessions for civil servants in 2020 after an official study found no evidence they worked. The coaching assumes bosses are biased against minorities without realising it, teaching them strategies to overcome this.

But the research said: ‘There is no evidence this training changes behaviour in the long term or improves workplace equality in terms of representation of women, ethnic minorities or other minority groups.’

KPMG’s UK chief people officer Kevin Hogarth said the training will ensure inclusion and diversity ‘gets the attention it deserves’. 

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