8 consulting firms named as top employer for women
Eight professional services firms have been named in the annual Top 50 Employers for Women in the UK, compiled by The Times and Business in the Community. The consultancies were lauded for the work they do to remove the drivers that enforce gender inequality, from flexible working and family-friendly policies to pay, reward and progression.
Since 2006, the Times Top 50 Employers for Women list has celebrated organisations that champions female empowerment and gender equality in the workplace. As an initiative by Business in the Community (BITC –the Responsible Business Network of Prince Charles), the ranking has become the UK’s best-established listing of employers striving for gender equality in the workplace.
In order to win a place on the annual list, UK companies and public sector institutions are assessed on a range of areas, including their approach to gender equality part as part of their business and human capital strategy. In recent years, this also came to include how companies championed gender equality in the context of the pandemic – while for the 2022 list, BITC included further assessment to include the lived experience of women employees; asking which areas they feel needs to be improved.
Katy Neep, Gender Equality Campaign Director at BITC, said, “This year’s application process was the most competitive one we have ever seen. Employers like these haven’t lifted their foot off the pedal when it comes to supporting women at work and they are a strong example of what commitment to making gender inequality a thing of the past looks like.”
The consulting companies that feature in this year’s list have all demonstrated an industry-leading commitment to gender equality in the workplace on this basis. The following is an unranked, alphabetically ordered overview of the top consulting top employers for women in the UK.
Listed as being headquartered in Dublin, global consultancy Accenture has a UK&I company board comprised of 40% female members, and the organisation is aiming to reach 50% gender equality at all levels by 2030. The firm aims to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025, and almost 60% of new hires are currently women.
IT and outsourcing consultancy Atos employs more than 110,000 people across 73 countries, and asserts on its website that it has a “strong commitment to gender equality” which is “continually reviewed”. Among its latest commitments, the firm pledges support and promotion for the Atos ethnic diversity action pledge, which takes an intersectional approach to supporting BAME female representation at senior levels.
Bain & Company
Global strategy giant Bain & Company is the only member of the notorious MBB axis to make the grade. Bain asserts that addressing gender inequality is an “imperative” for its business, and the firm also continually re-evaluates so that it can take whatever steps to remain a leader in gender equality.
Speaking on the news, James Hadley, Bain & Company’s UK Managing Partner, said, “We are delighted to be recognised for the second year in a row… At Bain, we are strongly committed to these efforts to redefine the consulting industry as well as our own business. We will continue to invest in our greatest asset – our people. Our recruitment programmes, equal parental leave policy, flexibility options and overall culture of support are key components to that.”
For the sixth year in a row, Capgemini UK has been recognised for its work on gender equality and inclusion. Among other initiatives, the IT and outsourcing consultancy is currently investing in external expertise with Women on Boards to support 160 women with training to develop their board leadership skills – to apply in and out of work, and support progression at Capgemini.
Paul Margetts, Managing Director at Capgemini UK, stated, “We continue to push for progress at all levels of the organisation – and while there is more to do, this reflects our sustained commitment and actions towards achieving gender equality in our hybrid working world.”
Big Four professional services firm Deloitte is another regular presence on the list – and in the last year, has launched new policies within the last year to support inclusion across the firm. These include giving staff the choice of when and where they work, and introducing new policies such as the ‘Allyship Toolkit’ and the ‘Better Balance Framework’ to promote gender allyship.
Jackie Henry, Managing Partner for People and Purpose at Deloitte, remarked, “Recent Deloitte Global research found that women in the UK reported widespread burnout and the lack of flexible working opportunities continues to hinder working women’s career progress. Tackling these challenges is not only an issue for women, but one that business leaders should embrace to support their workforce.”
Global professional services firm Grant Thornton’s UK entity uses data to inform targeted action on workplace inclusivity, helping make significant efforts to improve representation of women at a senior level. During 2021, the firm saw evidence of progress with an increased proportion of women being promoted to partner and joining as external hires, contributing to a more balanced representation of women at partner level – rising from 19% in 2020 to 22% in 2021.
Fiona Baldwin, Board Sponsor for Gender at Grant Thornton UK, said, “The bedrock of our current strategy is removing barriers and improving the lived experience for our women. This includes: a culture of agile working and flexibility; sponsorship and development; ensuring female health is supported, powerful networks, internal engagement and education; and campaigning for the support of male allies to discuss and promote change.
Another Big Four presence on the list, KPMG’s UK member firm has achieved gender parity on its board. The company’s colleagues attempt to lead by example – whether it’s visibility with flexible working arrangements or challenging recruiters for 50-50 shortlists – and focus on demonstrating that we are serious about recruitment, retention and progression of all women. The firm also named its first female Chair as Bina Mehta in 2021.
Big Four competitor PwC is similarly noted for its leadership on gender equality at work. The firm has a five point diversity and inclusion plan in place, which includes progression coaches for high potential female directors, and banning all-male recruitment shortlists. During the pandemic, a time code was made available for all employees to charge time spent on caring responsibilities in order to make balancing work and family responsibilities easier.
Last year, to celebrate 15 years of the Employers for Women list, Consultancy analysed the list to find the 15 best employers for women within the industry. The full listing of those 16 firms can be found here.