While an increasing number of women are pursuing careers in consulting, the recruitment, retention and promotion of women remain issues for firms across the industry. Firms especially struggle with retaining women in senior-level positions. A report, “The Road Less Traveled: Why Women’s Path to Partnership in Consulting Firms is Still Not Straight,” published by NBI Consulting and Source and based on interviews with women in partner- and board-level positions with the world’s largest consulting firms, delves into why there are so few female leaders in the industry. In short: Despite the many initiatives intended to retain female talent, the results are continuously disappointing.
At Fairygodboss, the only crowdsourced database in the U.S. through which women can anonymously review their employers, we learn of companies' efforts and successes. That's why we can confidently recommend that the consulting industry is actually one in which women can find success. Barring the statistics, there are consulting companies that advocate for, promote and, therefore, successfully retain women in leadership.
With that said, here are nine reasons more women should consider careers in consulting — because the following firms lift women up, according to women who work for them.
Accenture — a leading global professional services company providing a range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations — has a goal to achieve a gender-balanced workforce, with 50 percent women and 50 percent men, by 2025. And the company seems to be well on its way.
"I think there is a great focus on gender diversity in Accenture," one FGB'er wrote. "There are a lot of women empowerment programs."
In fact, 84 percent of users think their CEO at Accenture supports gender diversity. It's no surprise, then, that Accenture is one of Fairygodboss' current best companies for women.
At Boston Consulting Group — a global management consulting firm and leading advisor on business strategy — women can look up to female leaders as mentors. Of the Fairygodboss users who rated the company looking at its more than 10,000 employees, 90 percent say women are treated fairly and equally to men and 96 percent believe their CEO supports gender diversity.
"BCG truly believes in the value of diversity and has tons of great programs in place to ensure women succeed," one FGB'er wrote. "BCG also has amazing female mentors."
Another added, "They invest a lot to support and retain women, and the culture is great."
At EY — a multinational professional services firm and one of the largest of its kind as one of the "Big Four" accounting firms — women, and especially working mothers, have praised the company's flexibility.
"I've had two babies working at EY and, between the 12 weeks paid maternity leave and the flexibility of being able to work from home when I needed to, it was really a very supportive environment," one FGB'er wrote. "The firm emphasizes work/life balance but, make no mistake — there is a high level of expectation set."
Another added: "I've been here 26 years and it is a great place to work, especially with flexibility. Working remotely is an option that's available. The people are friendly, caring and very supportive."
At FTI Consulting — a global business advisory firm that helps organizations manage change, mitigate risk and resolve disputes regarding financial, legal, operational, political and regulatory, reputational and transactional matters — female employees have tons of opportunities to learn and grow.
"Leadership is actively working towards making the company a great place for women to work," one FGB'er wrote. "They have been rolling out new policies to promote women and create a flexible work environment."
FTI Consulting's Women's Initiative Network, for example, supports the development of females and sharing of information across the firm with various events, training and social activities.
One hundred percent of women who reviewed the company, Protiviti, say that the company treats women and men equally. In fact, 95 percent would recommend the company to other women, largely commenting on how well the company hears women's voices.
"This has been an awesome job as a young woman in the technology industry!" one FGB'er wrote. "I have always felt comfortable voicing my opinion, and I have many women leaders to look up to. I would highly recommend Protiviti as a great place to work at any level."
Another shared: "Speak up —your voice will be heard. Our leadership is very open to ideas, concerns and feedback that are shared and will work with you to ensure that you have every opportunity to achieve your full potential."
It's no wonder PwC, which helps clients meet the challenges and opportunities of the U.S. marketplace in the areas of assurance, tax and advisory, has been voted as one of the best companies for women for three years in a row with a top CEO. Women have touted the company's benefits time and time again.
"There is wonderful flexibility and great policies to be a working mom," one FGB'er wrote.
Another said, "Finally, a company that gives you the room you need to grow with just the right amount of guidance and flexibility for the working mom!"
Likewise, another user shared: "You can be the parent AND the employee you want to be at PwC! You have to own your time and choose wisely how you spend it. I surely don't work a strict 9-5pm job, but they pay me for the job not the hours — so, I get my job done and 'mom' at random times, too."
At West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consulting firm, new ideas are welcomed. In fact, the Women’s Leadership Network is an employee resource group that helps women thrive at West Monroe and share the ideas they have.
"Good place to work," one FGB'er wrote. "Management is willing to work with you."
Another said, "The work environment is awesome — all ideas are listened to and considered."
At ZS, the company culture is often described as a caring meritocracy built on respect, support, flexibility and connections. Many members of the FGB community have commented on the company's Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), which supports women in building successful, long-term consulting careers and fosters.
"ZS is a great place to work, and I have always felt very supported as a female in this firm," one FGB'er wrote. "There is a program called Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) that focuses on helping all women build successful careers at the firm. Many of the initiatives they support have enhanced the working environment for all people, regardless of gender. The program is structured around [three] primary pillars — professional growth, inclusive work environment and individual choices to accommodate changing career and life priorities. This program has been instrumental in providing women across the firm support and mentorship as they grow in their career at ZS."
Pariveda Solutions, a technology strategy and solutions consulting firm, is a “company <that> challenges and supports you to become your best self… but also values healthy work-life balance.”
They make career growth expectations and opportunities very transparent with their Pariveda Expectations Framework, that lays out how promotions are earned at every level. Likewise, they offer a transparent pay scale based on cohort level that ensure pay equity across the company.
On top of clear expectations, Pariveda has several systems in place to help you meet them. They offer a mentorship program, a women’s forum (Espirit de Femme), professional trainings, and executive coaching. It’s no wonder they were voted a great place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, Consulting Magazine, and Computerworld.
Women love working at Stride Consulting — NYC’s go-to Agile software development company — because they know their work will be properly compensated.
Stride recently won a Stevie award for Equal Pay, and all employees are allowed to request a raise 365 days a year. To make this process easier, Stride has an internal sponsorship program where each Strider is paired with a work buddy and a work sponsor to advocate for their career development.
However, your compensation doesn’t stop at your salary. Striders are also provided flexible working options, floating vacation days, competitive health and dental benefits, and 401(k) matching that vests immediately.
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