Consulting firms in Australia leading the gender equality drive

17 March 2020 3 min. read

A new large scale analysis of gender equality policies and more importantly performance sheds light on how consulting firms are closing their gaps, and which firms are leading the gender parity drive. A group of eight consulting firms are found to be outperforming their peers.

According to data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and the University of Queensland’s AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace, on average, Australian businesses have managed to close their gender pay gap by 3.7 percentage points between the reporting periods of 2013-14 to 2017-18.

Companies that have been classified as leaders in the space – labelled ‘employers of choice of gender equality’ – have however succeeded in closing their gender remuneration pay gap by an average of 9.2 percentage points.

This faster convergence in pay gaps is realised through a number of avenues, including a higher representation of women at executive levels, a stronger pipeline of women moving into senior management roles, a higher proportion of female employees working full-time and compensation & benefits policies that are women-friendly and aligned with performance management.

McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Accenture and Mercer
According to WGEA and the University of Queensland, a total of 119 organisations in Australia can call themselves a top employer for equal pay. “These leaders are showing other Australian businesses how to do it – that is create a better and more equal future for both women and men,” said Libby Lyons, Director of the AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace.

She added that they are demonstrably reaping the benefits – “a tangible and positive impact to the business” – from their approach. International research has previously shown that gender equality can add significant economic value to organisations and teams, and that more diverse male-female teams enjoy a number of enhanced capacities such as improved teamwork, out of the box thinking and empathy.

The professional services industry is home to nearly one third of all gender equality leaders, with eight management consulting firms making the prestigious list. These include the trio of top strategy consultancies McKinsey & CompanyBoston Consulting Group and Bain & Company, three of the Big Four groups (DeloitteKPMG and PwC), technology giant Accenture and HR consultancy major Mercer.

According to a recent report from KPMG, closing the gender gap in Australia could translate into billions when it comes to economic benefits for the country. Meanwhile, a Bain & Company study found that more male engagement is a key success factor for achieving a better gender equality.

A list of other professional services firms that rank as leaders:

Baker McKenzie
DLA Piper
Clayton Utz
Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Gilbert + Tobin
Hall & Wilcox
Hatch Pty
Holding Redlich
Jacobs Group
K&L Gates
King & Wood Mallesons
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
McCullough Robertson Lawyers
Norman Disney & Young
Norton Rose Fullbright Australia
Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Russell Kennedy Lawyers