Strong balanced UK growth supports continued investment in EY Leeds and Hull

Suzanne Robinson

As companies adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic, strong levels of client demand and continued investments in EY’s people and technology capabilities have supported the firm’s UK growth over the last financial year.

EY’s UK revenues grew by 7.3 per cent for the financial year ended 2 July, while UK fee income grew to £2.75bn from £2.57bn the previous year. EY has reported strong growth across all its service lines. Revenues in Strategy and Transactions grew 12.1 per cent, Consulting grew 9.5 per cent, Assurance grew 5.8 per cent and Tax grew 4 per cent.

Sustained regional growth has seen EY continue to invest in its people, with a number of strategic hires and promotions across EY’s Leeds and Hull offices. Across Yorkshire and the North East EY has appointed one equity Partner and promoted four individuals to Associate Partner.

EY has also appointed two new senior hires in its North Corporate Finance team; Richard Pulford and Rebecca Rennison. Richard joined EY from DC Advisory, where he spent 13 years growing and leading the firm’s North West team and Rebecca Rennison joined EY from PwC, where she led the Yorkshire Corporate Finance team. The pair will work together with Mark Clephan to lead the team as it continues its ambition to become the leading Corporate Finance practice in the region.

EY’s Yorkshire Strategy and Transactions team had another strong year advising on several high-profile deals across a broad range of sectors. Notable deals that the team worked on during the year include the acquisition of Assentis by Smart Communications, the LDC-backed merger of Lomond Capital with Harrogate-headquartered Linley & Simpson, the sale of IG Industries and Brayford Plastics to ProAmpac, the acquisition of Bee Health by US-based INW, Novax’s acquisition of Ulrick & Short, and Berkeley DeVeer on their acquisition of Avant Homes.

At the end of last year, the Leeds-based Transaction services team, led by Mark Allcroft, were awarded the Transaction Services Team of the Year at the Yorkshire Insider Dealmaker awards.

Suzanne Robinson, ,anaging partner for EY in Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “EY has seen strong balanced growth both nationally and regionally and we’ve continued to make significant investments in our Yorkshire business.

“We employ over 400 people across Yorkshire and the Humber, and we’ve continued to invest in local talent with a number of significant appointments in key areas such as Corporate Finance, Strategy and Transactions, and Tax. This will help us to meet growing client demand, with people who have a good understanding of the Yorkshire market.”

EY’s Leeds office welcomed 31 graduates and apprentices – 42 per cent are women and 25 per cent are from an ethnic minority heritage – while five graduates and apprentices joined EY’s Hull office.

The new cohort, which represents another strong intake for EY as it continues to build out its talent pipeline across Yorkshire and Humber, will be working towards professional qualifications equivalent to either a bachelor’s or master’s degree upon completion.

In addition, the EY Foundation – EY’s independent charity – offered placements to 15 people across the region in 2021 on its Smart Futures, Tech Futures and Beyond Your Limits programmes. Through these programmes, the EY Foundation helps support young people from low-income backgrounds to receive paid work experience, mentoring, employability skills training and career advice. Learn more in the latest EY Foundation Impact Report.

Suzanne Robinson continued: “We were delighted to welcome so many students to EY this year, as they begin their career with the firm. It’s brilliant to see that we have increased our intake from last year, demonstrating our commitment to student recruitment and the growth of the firm. Young talent is essential to our future business success and to shaping the skills we will need to remain competitive.”

 

EY has strong growth plans for the North, with EY Manchester becoming the next UK location, following London and Edinburgh, for a Wavespace centre, demonstrating regional commitment to client technology and innovation investment. EY Wavespace Manchester will be part of the firm’s global network of growth and innovation centres. The Wavespace team helps organisations undergoing significant change to address key business challenges – from making complex global supply chains more sustainable to using AI to help manage tax compliance.

Hywel Ball, EY’s UK Chair, said: “We’ve seen strong balanced growth across all areas of our business. This has been driven by high levels of demand from our clients as companies adapted to the realities of COVID-19, as well as the long-term investments we’ve made in our people and services which has meant we’ve been resilient, agile and able to respond to our stakeholders’ needs.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve focussed on doing the right thing for our people, clients and the communities in which we operate. From the start, we reassured our people around their job security and pay and made a decision not to use the Government’s financial support. We also doubled a period of special leave for those facing emergency situations and extended discretionary sick pay to all our people, regardless of their length of service.

“We’ve since hired over 1,000 students, positively impacted almost 1.3m people through our EY Ripples corporate responsibility programme, and have worked hard to support our clients as they have tackled the challenges posed by COVID-19. We’ve also increased our investments in audit quality and have made a series of acquisitions which will bring new capabilities and skills as we look to expand in new areas such as digital and technology consulting.

“The global pandemic has been one of the most challenging periods that many of us will have ever experienced in our professional or personal lives and I’m incredibly proud of the resilience and adaptability shown by our teams. We recognised this in April, when we awarded all our people with an exceptional payment to thank them for their hard work during this time.”

EY hired over 2,550 people over the last financial year, with 36 per cent of roles based outside of London. This is in addition to the 909 graduates and 179 apprentices that joined EY this September, with 44 per cent based in regional offices. Of the student recruits, 46 per cent are women, 38 per cent are from an ethnic minority heritage, and four per cent are Black.

The firm has also continued to invest in new Partner hires, appointing 103 new UK equity Partners. 65 of these appointments were internal promotions, representing the largest intake of home-grown talent in ten years.

The new appointments reflect the firm’s increased investment in its sectors, service lines and regional business – including in areas such as financial services, sustainability, technology and its strategy capabilities in EY Parthenon – to better support clients at a time of unprecedented change and challenge in the UK and worldwide.

EY provided its people in the UK with an exceptional payment in May this year, in recognition of their hard work and resilience during the pandemic. This was in addition to the firm’s normal bonus and salary review. In total, EY paid out around £83m in bonuses to its people this year.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce continues to be a top priority for EY, both at a Partner level and across the UK firm. Last year, EY set a series of new anti-racism commitments, which included targets for Black Partner representation as well as a commitment to offering at least 30 per cent of EY’s work experience places to Black young people for the next five years.

In addition, EY has also increased the number of places on its ‘Discover EY Black Heritage in Business’ programme for first year undergraduates by 72 per cent. The two-day virtual programme gives Black students the opportunity to learn more about EY, gain career advice and network. EY’s Race and Ethnicity employee network is also offering a mentoring scheme to support early talent as students begin their career at EY. At the close of FY21, EY had a total of 781 UK Partners, of whom 24 per cent were female and 13 per cent were from an ethnic minority heritage, with one per cent identifying as Black and Mixed-Black heritage.

This summer, EY announced the launch of a Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE) in the UK, which has set an ambition to hire 150 neurodivergent individuals over the next three years, who will work within EY’s integrated client teams. The programme is open to both graduates and experienced hires. The NCoE is designed to create a supportive working environment for individuals with cognitive differences, as EY continues to learn from contributions of current neurodivergent employees.

The programme aims to help individuals apply their strengths and meet clients’ business needs in emerging technologies, such as: artificial intelligence, data analytics, automation, blockchain and cyber.

Over the last financial year EY Ripples – the firm’s corporate responsibility programme – contributed to a range of projects that positively impacted almost 1.3m people in the UK. As well as community projects, the programme supports the next generation workforce by promoting social mobility.

The EY Foundation – EY’s independent charity – supported a further 2,400 young people (all of whom qualified for free school meals in the last two years) through its skills and work experience programmes. The EY Foundation works directly with young people, employers and social entrepreneurs to create or support pathways into education, employment or enterprise. 

EY continues to make significant investments in audit quality, with the firm globally investing US$10b in people, technology and quality management systems. This has been reflected in ongoing improvements in the firm’s latest audit quality inspection results.

EY also now audits 23 companies in the FTSE 100 and 72 in the FTSE 350. EY recognises there’s still more to do and – in addition to embedding the Audit Quality Strategy it launched last September – has also established a new UK Audit Board and Audit Remuneration Committee. These changes will support EY’s focus on delivering the highest levels of audit quality by building a culture of challenge and providing independent oversight of the UK audit practice.

EY also submitted its response to the BEIS consultation on corporate governance and audit reform in July and continues to work closely with Government and other stakeholders on this important agenda.

As a member of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council (WEF-IBC), EY is championing the importance of reporting on ESG issues, publishing for the first time today a UK Impact Report.

In October this year, EY announced that it had achieved its global ambition to be carbon negative. In May 2020, EY was also one of 50 companies to sign up to a Green Pensions Charter, marking a commitment to ensure that EY pensions are invested sustainably.

In addition to making changes in its own business, EY is also investing in the range of sustainable services it provides to clients. The firm has also created the Climate Business Forum to bring together 11 of the UK’s largest companies and 21 young students, entrepreneurs, and professionals who represent tomorrow’s leadership. The CBF published its findings in September 2021, with a series of recommendations to help businesses achieve the UK’s decarbonisation ambition.

EY is also a member of the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration – a group of nine leading businesses who have joined forces to accelerate Scotland’s transition to a net-zero future.

Over the last six months, EY has made five strategic business acquisitions to enhance the range of services and skills the firm provides to clients and to support EY’s growth strategy in the UK & Ireland. The acquisitions of CMA Strategy Consulting, Lane4, Frank Hirth, Pythagoras and Seaton Partners are significant investments and will further strengthen EY’s technology capabilities.

 EY is continuing to invest in the skills of its own people too and provided over 660,000 training hours over the last financial year. In addition, the firm expanded its EY Badges programme, which offers people the chance to develop a range of future-focused skills and earn externally recognised digital credentials in areas such as technology, sustainability and leadership.

Last month, EY in association with Hult International Business School also announced a new accredited Masters in Business Analytics, which will be available to all EY people globally free of charge.

Suzanne Robinson added: “The decisions we took during the pandemic to continue investing in our people, business, and the range of services we provide to clients means that we are in a great position to build our UK growth. We have ambitious growth plans and will be further strengthening our capabilities in areas such as ESG reporting, strategy and technology consulting.

“These plans will be supported by our transition to a hybrid working model over the next 12 months, where we expect that most of our people will split their time between the office, client site and their homes. We have long been advocates of flexible working and believe a hybrid model will enable us to maximise the collaborative benefits of in-person meetings with the flexibility of remote working, for both our clients and people.”

Financial metrics:

  • UK revenues grew by 7.3 per cent for the financial year ended 2 July, while UK fee income grew to £2.75bn from £2.57bn the previous year.
  • Distributable profits before tax increased to £533m, up from £479m in FY20.
  • Average distributable profit per Partner increased to £749,000 from £667,000 in FY20.
  • Paid around £83m in bonuses to EY people (excluding Partners).
  • Total UK tax contribution for 2021 is more than £1.05bn.
  • Revenues in Strategy and Transactions grew 12.1 per cent, Consulting grew 9.5 per cent, Assurance grew 5.8 per cent and Tax grew 4 per cent.
  • Performance of EY’s largest sectors: Technology, Media and Telecommunications 20.2 per cent; Government and Infrastructure 18.5 per cent; Private Equity 8.6 per cent; Financial Services 5.4 per cent; Energy 2.1 per cent.

 

Non-Financial Metrics:

  • Hired over 2,550 people in FY21, with 36 per cent of roles based outside of London.
  • Recruited an additional 909 graduates and 179 school leavers in September 2021, with 44 per cent based in regional offices.Appointed 103 new UK equity Partners – 65 of whom were internal promotions.
  • Positively impacted almost 1.3m people in the UK through the EY Ripples corporate responsibility programme.
  • The EY Foundation, EY’s independent charity, supported a further 2,400 young people through its programmes.
  • Aiming to hire 150 neurodivergent individuals over the next three years through EY’s Neuro-Diverse Centre of Excellence (NCoE) in the UK.

 

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