Pricewaterhouse Coopers is the worlds second largest professional services firm, employing 161,000 people in 757 cities across 154 countries. Despite its global reach, only 14% of its Partners are women.
They want to change this to better represent the diverse nature of customers they represent and people they employ. Chairman Ian Powell is reported as wanting to set an “aspirational goal” of 40% to 50% of partners “being women or from other under – represented groups, such as ethnic minorities. Good for him.
What encourages me most about the way this is being reported is the fact that reference is made to this not being about “quotas”. This isn’t about political correctness, this is about recognising that talent is not defined by gender or ethnicity. Talent is always in demand and always in short supply, regardless of the economic cycle. If you want the very best for your organisation, why restrict that which from you select to half the population?
I don’t want quotas, or for that matter positive discrimination. I want to able to judge everyone purely on merit. I want to hire the very best talent I can attract within the budget that is available to me. That should be the case for all hiring, if you want your organisation to flourish.
All the research I’ve ever read on the subject of hiring evidences the more diverse your board, your leadership group, your managers, the better performing, more productive, profitable, sustainable, successful your business will be. This is about applying best practice in your hiring. I applaud PwC for taking these steps, I look forward to seeing them deliver. Not only great news for their employers, but frankly their customers.
Lord Davies take note, quotas are not the way to encourage behaviour along these lines. Education is the answer. Keep getting the message across that you can greatly impact your bottom line by attracting a diverse range of talent to your business. Give business the evidence, the case studies, the facts and keep giving it. Diversity delivers. It is a positive message we would all be well served to heed.