The myGwork team met with Steve Keith, Marketing and Communications Lead for Apprenticeships at EY, to discuss his experience in a previous role of being in the closet ‘9-5’ and his efforts in helping to overcome the obstacles that prevent social mobility and to create equal opportunities for everybody.

With a great passion for working with young people, and as the first of his family to graduate from University, Steve understands the hurdles that can prevent social mobility. Research suggests that people from privileged backgrounds end up taking a great number of the top jobs available.

“Only 1 in 8 people from a low-income background are likely to become a high-income earner. It’s a problem in society a not one that should exist. Your background shouldn’t really come into it; it should be about an individual’s talent and potential for the future. It can be a particular challenge for young LGBT people – it can feel like another workplace barrier to overcome.”

Before joining EY in 2010, Steve spent 4 years working in a secondary school, recruiting and mentoring trainee teachers. Following the advice of other LGBT+ colleagues whilst teaching, he decided to stay in the closet, afraid of the reaction he would get if anybody found out.

“You read and hear about so many stories about homophobic bullying, that choosing to go back into the closet 9 to 5 seemed like a better option at the time. As a teacher, I became really frustrated and spent a lot of time dwelling on a missed opportunity of being a positive role model for children in the school going through the journey that I had gone through myself.”

After being made redundant in his previous role, Steve stumbled on his career at EY by accident, not only to find himself incredibly successful professionally, but also motivated by a completely different work environment.

“EY was about to launch a school leavers programme and they needed some assistance with working with schools. I had the experience of working in schools and working with young people and I’d always been interested in a career in marketing. I don’t think my sexuality has ever been a barrier whilst I’ve been at EY. It’s really liberating to go to work and be myself; it’s taken a huge weight off my shoulders that I previously had carried. Without even realising, I’ve come back out of the closet. A lot of it was just down to the culture at EY, it is just a place where you can be free to be yourself.”

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EY - Taking a stand for LGBT people in the work community

We are committed to providing an inclusive work environment, where individuals are respected for the skills and talents they contribute and the impact they make. As such, we have initiatives geared toward our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people and their allies.

We support our LGBT people through both policy and practice, by working together to:

  • Offer top-tier benefits (such as spousal equivalent domestic partner recognition, gender transition coverage, and tax gross up on domestic partner benefits imputed income in the US)
  • Take leadership in the community by supporting top LGBT organizations through sponsorship, volunteering and board involvement
  • Provide access to resources and knowledge via a wide array of internal tools
  • Raise awareness of inequities that our LGBT professionals face in the workplace and in the community

In addition, Unity, one of our EY Professional Networks, supports and promotes our LGBT-inclusive culture. With more than 1,700 members in more than 90 EY locations, Unity also works with our other Professional Networks to better leverage available resources and reach a larger audience.

In March 2013, Ernst & Young LLP joined an amicus, or "friend of the court," brief setting out for the Supreme Court the costs American employers incur associated with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The firm is proud to be among the more than 270 employers and others that joined in the brief, and the only Big Four professional services organization, to provide information for the Supreme Court’s consideration of United States v. Windsor.

Plus, in September 2012, we became the first in our industry to support the Immigration Equality Action Fund and join the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act to take a stand for LGBT people facing immigration discrimination within their families. This move complements our efforts to join the Human Rights Campaign’s business coalitions in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and tax equity benefits.

An inclusive view
We received the Trevor 2020 Award for increasing the visibility and understanding of LGBT issues in 2011. We also developed an “It Gets Better” video in which some of our Unity members, including EY’s Global Vice Chair — Public Policy Beth Brooke-Marciniak, tell their stories to LGBT teens at risk, illustrating that things will get better. You can view the video at

Working together
EY Unity members from Canada, the US and the UK remain engaged in achieving success at the Out & Equal Workplace Summit. They have cumulatively volunteered more than 2,700 hours of support and been involved in leading 97 workshops.

In addition, attending the summit allows our people to expand their personal knowledge and networking ability, as well as bring back recommendations for their peers to integrate into the day-to-day working environment.

Leading through inclusion
Our “Leading through inclusion” lunch-and-learn program builds widespread awareness about the importance of LGBT inclusion in the workplace.

Additionally, the US firm is a corporate sponsor offering our support and talent to LGBT-focused non-profits, including the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). In 2012, for example, we sponsored the NGLCC gala and conference, with EY’s Global Chairman and CEO Jim Turley speaking about the importance of supporting LGBT-owned businesses as part of our supplier diversity initiative and commitment to entrepreneurs.

Further, one of our Unity members chairs the board of the NGLCC while another Unity member has demonstrated her leadership through the Procurement Council.

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EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. 

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit 

EY material on this page has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice. Please refer to your advisors for specific advice.


A diverse and inclusive workforce

Globalisation brings an influx of information from an increasingly diverse workforce. In this fast-changing environment, every situation and context brings its own challenges.

At EY, we believe only the highest-performing teams, which maximise the power of different opinions, perspectives and cultural references, will succeed in the global marketplace. Our focus on diversity and inclusiveness is integral to how we serve our clients, develop our people and play a leadership role in our communities.

  • Diversity is about differences. Each of us is different, and at EY we value and respect individual differences. We think broadly about differences, including background, education, gender, ethnicity, nationality, generation, age, working and thinking styles, religious background, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability and technical skills, plus differences according to service line, sector and function.
  • Inclusiveness is about leveraging these differences to achieve better business results. It is about creating an environment where all our people feel, and are, valued, are able to bring their differences to work each day, and always contribute their personal best.

Research shows companies with diverse teams led inclusively perform better than those with more homogenous teams, because diverse teams demonstrate stronger collaboration and better retention and are therefore more likely to improve market share and succeed in new markets.

Making sure all our people’s voices are heard and valued not only helps attract and retain the best people, but also helps us deliver better approaches for our clients and our organisation. This is because creating an inclusive workforce, where all differences matter, allows us to identify risks and opportunities we might not otherwise see.

The D&I roadmap illustrates our vision and provides a shared framework to drive change at organisational and individual levels.

Find out more about diversity and inclusiveness at EY:





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I've worked for EY for almost 6 years and I can honestly say that it's been the best place for me to be my authentic self. The amount of responsibility that's been given to me and the confidence given to me to make business critical decisions has allowed my career to flourish in a direction that I never thought possible. The people culture is fantastic and I'm always impressed by the commitment from senior leadership to promoting a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

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