International Men's Day - Cian O'Leary

Cian O'Leary

Cian, graduated in 2016 from UCD with a 2:1 Honours in his Economics degree. Since then he has been working with EY within the Assurance practice and in particular, within Insurance. He has passed his 1st set of exams with us (CAP 1's) and is currently enrolled in the CAP 2's which will be sat next June.

Could you give us a brief overview of your career to date? I studied law with Economics in UCD and graduated with a 2:1 in September 2016. I also began working for EY in in September 2016 and now currently work in Financial Services (FS) Assurance. I am a member of the Insurance pod and over the past twelve months I have been given the opportunity to audit many highly reputable insurance companies. I am also in the process of completing the ACA professional exams having passed my CAP 1's last July 2017. I am now currently enrolled on the CAP 2 programme and will sit my CAP 2 exams next June.

What did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a professional musician when I was younger and although I used to play music in bars and restaurants during my college days to earn some extra money I always felt that education was a more realistic and viable route. Nowadays, music is a hobby that I continue to pursue in my spare time.

Who has been your biggest influence? I have two older brothers and having witnessed their determination and ambition to succeed in their careers, has been, and will continue to be a driving factor in my quest to have a successful career. I witnessed how hard they worked throughout their leaving cert and college undergraduate courses to achieve their goals which gave me a strong indication as to how much work was required for me to achieve mine.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing men your age today? I am aged twenty four. There is an expectation on men my age to act in a particular way, to portray an external layer of masculinity and not to show emotion and to reach out for help when we face issues in our lives. I feel that there is a social unacceptability to express emotion or fear as a young man which will and has led to psychological problems at a later stage in our lives.

Do you have one piece of advice for men who are just starting out their career? If, as a young man you are just are beginning your career in a large corporation one piece of advice would be to never be afraid to reach out for help when needed. While working for EY it is a given that you will make mistakes and a given that you will need help at various stages be it work or non-work related so don’t be afraid to firstly admit you need help and then reach out. The inability for men to open up and speak to each other about day-to-day issues is hugely damaging to our mental health and is contributing to depression across the globe. Almost one fifth of people will suffer from depression at some stage in their lives. Reaching out to your colleagues and friends will help alleviate this issue.

What is the one thing you could recommend to make the world a balanced place? Gender balance in particular must be emphasised in education, similar to what is being implemented in Sweden. Gender balance needs to be taught to children from a young age which would help give children of both sexes equal opportunities in life.

Do you think it is important to have International Men’s Day? Yes I think it is of vital importance. Globalisation and greed has meant that vulnerable men in society can be easily overlooked. Men are subject to adverse treatment such as racism, homophobia and sexism and therefore International Men’s day ensures that all men are celebrated globally.

In the next generation what is the one thing you would like to see that is different? For men and women to be paid equally in all forms of employment. Even in 2017 it has been proven that men are paid higher salaries than women in similar working roles. This has to change.

What do you think would help engage men in the conversation of gender parity? Men need to firstly be made aware that gender inequality actually exists and we need to ensure this happens by educating boys on this matter from a young age. Apathy, fear and ignorance about gender issues amongst men needs to be eradicated from society and we as young men need to defy certain masculine norms and embrace and encourage a sense of fair play amongst men and women in society.

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