Consulting firms rank among Australia’s top inclusive employers

12 December 2021 3 min. read

Four consulting and professional services firms have been placed among Australia’s top inclusive employers.

Australia’s peak independent body for workplace diversity, Diversity Council Australia (DCA), has released its Inclusion@Work index for 2021/22, with four leading management consulting and professional services firms making the top grade: Nous Group, L.E.K. Consulting, Grant Thornton and BDO. To be named ‘Inclusive Employers’, organisations must exceed the National Index Benchmark in at least five out of six measures.

Established as a joint initiative of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry together with the Business Council of Australia in 1985, DCA today has some 950 members (including major partner KPMG) whose employee numbers represent up to a fifth of the Australian workforce. Every two years, the DCA conducts a representative survey of 3,000 Australian workers, with participating organisations benchmarked against other members.

Consulting firms rank among Australia’s top inclusive employers

The six primary measures assessed for the Inclusion@Work Member’s Index include company awareness, engagement, an inclusive organisational climate, inclusive leadership, an inclusive team, and any issues of exclusion. Previous consultancies to have made the list over its past three cycles include Boston Consulting Group, KPMG and BDO, with the latter this year retaining its spot.

“I am so proud of our people and organisation to be acknowledged as an Inclusive Employer,” commented Grant Thornton Australia CEO Greg Keith. “We created a company ethos based on our values of collaboration, authenticity, responsibility and excellence, and achieving high standards of inclusion across all the parts of our business is a reflection of how our people are living these values and bringing them to life at work each day.”

Nous Group meanwhile – which was recently named Australia’s best place to work – has released some of the results of the survey which included almost 200 employees. Over 90 percent of its respondents reported that the firm is taking action to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, compared to 57 per cent among the general workforce, while almost the same number felt they had the same opportunities as anyone else, regardless of age, gender, and race, etc.

“The things that make Nous a great place to work are also the things that support diversity, from our encouragement for people to bring their whole selves to work to our flexible work philosophy that gives our team agency over their working arrangements,” said Nous CEO and managing principal Tim Orton. “We do these things because they are the right things to do, but they also bring with them benefits to our team and to our clients.”

The benefits of workplace diversity

In conjunction with the index, DCA also released a report into the benefits of workplace diversity, which it highlights is especially critical in the current atmosphere of staff shortages. According to its figures, workers in inclusive teams are four times less likely to express a desire to leave their jobs over the next twelve months, and in the order of ten times more likely to be innovative, very satisfied, and highly effective in their roles.

“Much of Australia has experienced serious disruption to our way of life and work in the past two years,” commented DCA CEO Lisa Annese. “For many employees it has changed what they are looking for from work. This research demonstrates a link between non-inclusive behaviours and workers’ intentions to stay. So, if you are investing in D&I, you’re investing in the well-being of your people, and making your business more resilient.”