With the UK’s largest companies facing a war to court vital talent in coming years, gender inclusivity has never been more important for the success of top consulting firms. As a result, an annual ranking has found that of the 100 best career opportunities for women in the UK, 10 are consulting firms.
Driven by a growing body of evidence that suggests more diverse teams perform better, while an ageing population and higher levels of competition for talent have further incentivised companies looking to recruit from underrepresented groups, the corporate world has been working for a number of years to improve its inclusivity. Despite continuously encouraging clients to improve their gender representation and reduce gender pay gaps, the consulting industry of the UK has routinely been shown to be failing to improve its own outlook on the matter.
Over the last 20 years, the consulting industry has hired women at the third fastest rate in the UK economy. While its female headcount has improved by more than 190% in that time, however, the industry has seen its gender balance become less equal. Despite this, the consulting industry remains steadfast in its determination to boost its female staff portion by offering improved career opportunities to women.
As a result of this continued push, a new analysis has concluded that 10 consulting firms are among the top employers for women in the UK in 2019. The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list, published by the UK newspaper in collaboration with Business in the Community, celebrates UK employers that are building gender equality into their business strategy and have committed creating inclusive workplace cultures and women’s progression at work.
Chloe Chambraud, Director of Gender Equality at Business in the Community said of the findings, “Congratulations to all of the organisations who have been named as Times Top 50 Employer for Women this year… Historically companies focused on policies and processes to address the inequality and bias that employees face on a daily basis. But this is not enough. It is only by changing the culture and promoting positive behaviours from the top that employers will see real change, and we look forward to supporting them on this journey.”
Accenture was among the firms listed. Having previously been among the companies celebrated by the list for its approach to the gender divide, the firm has been working toward gender equality across its regional wings, and has run the ‘Inclusion Starts With I’ campaign to boost its diversity levels.
Atos, a consultancy specialising in digital transformation, was named by the ranking as well. This was the firm’s first year on the list, achieved on the ambitions of the Atos Gender Programme. The company was included for its suite of targeted actions in the areas of attraction and recruitment, retention and progression, culture and inclusion, monitoring and accountability and best practice. The holistic approach is aimed at providing an environment in which women can flourish and fulfill their career aspirations in a supportive environment within Atos UK and Ireland.
Adrian Gregory, Atos Global Senior Executive Vice President and CEO UK&I, said of the achievement, “Strengthening gender equality and ensuring we promote an environment where female colleagues can thrive forms a key part of the broader diversity programme we are undertaking. Our focus is on attracting, recruiting, and developing a high performing workforce, where everyone can fulfil their career aspirations.”
Baringa was also previously honoured by the list. Having worked hard over the last few years to create and maintain a truly balanced workplace, it was also recognised for its leadership on race equality and inclusion in the workplace in November 2018, winning an inclusion in Business in the Community’s Best Employers for Race listing.
Capgemini was celebrated by the list, having spent the last year promoting its female role models both internally and externally, improving opportunities for flexible working through its work-life harmony policy and expanding the firm’s returnships programme to support women to return to work after long-term career breaks. Since 2015, Capgemini has also been working with Apps for Good and Tech Partnership to maintain the TechFuture Women’s Network.
Commenting on the recognition, Christine Hodgson, Chairman at Capgemini UK, said, “I’m delighted that we have been recognised… Our placing as one of just 50 companies leading the way on workplace gender equality in the UK is a brilliant achievement. It reflects our commitment – through our Active Inclusion programme and work with our community partners – to making the technology industry a better place for women to work and thrive.”
Deloitte, meanwhile, found its place on the list following the launch of its thought-provoking Ask Yourself film. At the same time, Deloitte’s UK wing has put 6,000 of its most senior leaders through extensive inclusive leadership sessions, rolled out mandatory online inclusion development sessions to all its people, and ensured that they are able to escalate any concerns they may have when it comes to respect and inclusion.
Emma Codd, Managing Partner for Talent at Deloitte, said, “We are extremely proud to be listed once again as a top employer for women alongside other companies that are committed to driving greater gender equality in the workplace.”
EY, like the rest of the Big Four, has been focusing on its intake in recent years as it attempts to improve its gender pay gap. The firm also participates in a number of Government initiatives such as the Equalities Office’s ‘Think, Act, Report’ framework, and HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter.
Justine Campbell, managing partner for talent, EY UK&I, said, “I am proud EY has been listed as one of the UK’s top employers for women. Increasing the representation of women across our business, at every level, remains one of our top priorities. We continue to look for new ways to make our culture more diverse and inclusive.”
Big Four competitor KPMG UK was also named on the list. The firm aims to host a Partner team which is 25% female by 2022, while it aims to have a 39% female Director team and intends to have brought its Senior Management team to a 49:51 ratio by the same year.
MBB strategy giant McKinsey & Company has also focused on improving its diversity and inclusion as an employer. In order to address its gender pay gap in the UK more rapidly, McKinsey has announced that it will seek to ramp up its female presence in the upper levels of the firm. McKinsey subsequently committed to having 40% of its consultant roles filled by women by 2020, including 30% female Partners and 15% female senior partners.
Speaking on this diversity drive via the company’s website, Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader said, “Diversity is one of my top priorities. We’ve written a lot about the power of parity and the value of diversity in the workplace. I want us to live up to everything we write about, and I’m committed to putting our own knowledge into practice. We’re putting resources, targets, and goals behind our efforts to make progress.”
Mercer, another returner to the list, has long focused on its gender diversity. Late in 2018, this saw the company take a lead in terms of the health benefits it offers trans employees. The comprehensive coverage for Gender Dysphoria features consultations and diagnosis, as well as mental health and surgical treatment.
Finally, PwC topped off the consulting presence on the ranking. Among other efforts the firm has made to address its gender imbalance, last year PwC became the first of the Big Four to announce it will no longer permit all-male job shortlists.
Laura Hinton, Chief People Officer at PwC, said, “It’s great to be featured in the list again this year. People are at the centre of everything we do at PwC, so gender diversity – and the inclusion agenda more broadly – is a real priority for us. There’s always more to do, and we have a clear action plan to ensure we’re making progress in attracting and retaining people from all backgrounds.”