Strong balanced UK growth supports continued investment in EY Cambridge

Stuart Wilkinson, Office Managing Partner at EY in the East of England

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 past financial year.

EY’s UK revenues grew by 7.3% 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%, Consulting grew 9.5%, Assurance grew 5.8% and Tax grew 4%.

Growth across the East of England

EY has continued to invest in its regional business, with a number of senior hires in its Cambridge office. These include the appointment of James McElhone as a Partner in Consulting, Carolyn Norfolk as an Associate Partner in Indirect Tax, and Chris Atkinson as an Associate Partner in Assurance.

In September, 24 graduates and apprentices also joined the firm’s Cambridge office, marking a commitment to nurturing early-stage talent. Of these new hires, 54% are women and 50% are from an ethnic minority heritage.

This year, the Cambridge office also joined the One Nucleus Partner Programme, a not-for-profit membership organisation that supports institutions, companies and individuals undertaking activity in the Life Science and Healthcare sectors. This will provide opportunities for EY to engage and connect with local businesses at the forefront of healthcare and biotechnology innovation.

Stuart Wilkinson, Office Managing Partner at EY in the East of England (pictured), said: “We’ve continued to invest in our people and grow our business across the region, supporting our clients through the global pandemic and as they transition out of it. As well as supporting our existing client base, we have also been successful in growing our regional business with a range of new clients across audit, tax, strategy and transactions, and consulting.

“In addition to investing in young talent through our graduate and apprenticeship programmes, we’ve also welcomed several strategic senior hires to the Cambridge office as we look to enhance the range of skills and capabilities we are able to offer to companies across the East of England.”

UK growth

Hywel Ball, EY’s UK Chair comments: “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 1000 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.”

Investing in our People

EY hired over 2,550 people over the past financial year, with 36% of roles based outside of London. This is in addition to the 909 graduates and 179 apprentices who joined EY this September, with 44% based in regional offices. Of the student recruits, 46% are women, 38% are from an ethnic minority heritage, and 4% 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 10 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.

Commitment to diversity and inclusion

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% 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%. 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% were female and 13% were from an ethnic minority heritage, with 1% identifying as Black and Mixed-Black heritage.

Supporting our communities

Over the past 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.

Investing in audit quality

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.

Commitment to environmental sustainability

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.

Investing in technology and innovation

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.


Concluding, Hywel Ball 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% 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%, Consulting grew 9.5%, Assurance grew 5.8% and Tax grew 4%.

► Performance of EY’s largest sectors: Technology, Media and Telecommunications 20.2%; Government and Infrastructure 18.5%; Private Equity 8.6%; Financial Services 5.4%; Energy 2.1%.

Non-Financial Metrics:

► Hired over 2,550 people in FY21, with 36% of roles based outside of London.

► Recruited an additional 909 graduates and 179 school leavers in September 2021, with 44% 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.


EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.