PwC targets women for the top

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 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 positions.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) 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 positions.
The scheme is being planned after detailed analysis and modelling examined the promotion flow of women and men in the organisation.
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 says it is now undertaking detailed planning to project acceptable, realistic and stretch targets for the progress of women through the ranks.
The ”comply or explain” approach will then feed 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, PwC has initially identified an additional 28 high-performing female partners to be mentored by the board.
”Introducing a ‘comply or explain’ approach is totally different to quotas,” said Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner, PwC.  ”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  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.”
15% of PwC’s partners in the UK are female, and around 50% of employees overall.
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 not weighted in favour of a particular gender.”





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