PwC targets women for the top
PwC in the UK plans to speed up the progression of the firm’s diversity strategy by encouraging the use of a new 'comply or explain' approach to the promotion of women to senior ranks in the firm.

Fuente:  Fecha: 22.02.2011

PwC targets women for the top

The approach is being planned after detailed analysis and modelling examined the promotion flow of women and men in the organisation. 15% of PwC's partners are female in the UK, and around 50% of employees overall. Using employee skills and capability mapping techniques, leaders in the firm’s major divisions will be asked to proactively consider women in their promotion rounds, or explain what the blocker to progress is, so that it can be addressed. Emphasis will fall initially on achieving proportionate promotion rates at manager and senior manager levels in the firm, to build a long term pipeline of senior female candidates for leadership levels.

PwC is now undertaking detailed scenario planning across the business to project acceptable, realistic and stretch targets for the progress of women through the ranks. This comply and explain approach then feeds back into the flow rates analysis and modelling, which charts male and female progression rates to leadership levels in the firm. As part of the wider initiative, the firm has initially identified an additional 28 high - performing female partners to be mentored by the board.

Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner, PwC said: "Introducing a 'comply or explain' approach is totally different to quotas. Tokenism doesn't result in a meritocracy.

"While it’s still a work in progress, we know that this approach will result in a clear plan of action for embedding diversity into the business and how we manage and develop our people.

"Diversity needs to be consciously considered at every stage of how we manage and develop our people; from recruitment through to identification of key talent, development, promotion and retention.

"Whilst we have many successful initiatives to promote and support women in the firm, this new approach means those activities can deliver in the context of our firm's clear sense of direction of where we want to get to as regards diversity. When you consider diversity as a whole, including people from under-represented groups in our profession such as disability or race, our aspirational goal is to see 40-50% partners being diverse."

Sarah Churchman, director of diversity and engagement, PwC said: "Diversity is not a numbers game nor about having visible diversity in senior roles just for the sake of looking diverse. Our approach means making business decisions that consciously consider all the people and their potential in our organisation, and taking any action required to ensure potential is now weighted in favour of a particular gender."

In 2009 PwC was awarded the Opportunity Now innovation award for the firm's Advisory Women’s Leadership programme, designed to build the pipeline of female partners for the firm’s Advisory division. It radically improved the leadership pipeline for the division, and was rolled out across the firm in the UK last year. Using an actuarial model to monitor and analyse women’s progression through the ranks in the firm over six years, it resulted in the creation of a programme specifically identifying and addressing the barriers to women’s progression, providing female staff with targeted development, building mentoring relationships between senior executives and female staff, and providing bias awareness training. The results of the first two years of the programme were: 2007/8 – 20% of partner admissions were women; 2008/9 – 25% of partner admissions were women; this compares with zero internal female partner admissions prior to the programme.