“We have a very special company" says Bill Green, Chairman of Accenture. "The reason it’s special is because of our people...the diversity that we bring...and how we weave it together into the fabric of what is Accenture. It’s powerful, it’s differentiating, and it’s something none of our competitors can copy.”
Big, bold and inspiring words from the top. That's important - especially when 35% of Accenture's workforce, more than 80,000 people, are women. In fiscal 2011, an impressive 34% of all new hires for Accenture were women. Not bad considering their focus is on information technology, an area that unfortunately still struggles to lure enough women.
Define success. Your way.
Accenture has a global platform for its women to define success in their own way. Sounds intriguing, but they certainly do have some of the best programs around aimed at developing leaders, empowering women and enabling their women to have a thriving career. Their numerous awards and accolades certainly demonstrate so.
Did you know that 17% of Accenture's senior executives and 25% of their Global Management Committee are women? Three women serve on Accenture's Board of Directors - no wonder there is strong leadership from their men and women at the top.
Accenture ran an impressive global study called “The Path Forward" which challenged women to find and use resources to define their vision of success. It certainly makes for an impressive read.
Annually Accenture invests more than USD $800 million in training and professional development, with Inclusion & Diversity training being a key component. This means Accenture employees understand clear parameters for acceptable and equal behaviour. This element is important for women to understand and to research when applying for roles. Some companies unfortunately do not have a culture of fairness and equality - and of course for women this can have adverse implications for their career development. Women need to make sure the company they are applying for is publicly recognised and awarded for having a discrimination-free and harassment-free work environment.
Supporting women-owned businesses
Another criteria for women to compare when selecting an employer is how much the company supports women externally. In fiscal 2011, Accenture directed USD $408 million (23% of their US procurement spending) to small and diverse owned businesses.
So the moral of the story is ... women make sure you do your homework.
If women choose better, more equal and more progressive companies where women are promoted on merit and there is clear evidence of flexibility and choice, then the laggards across industry can only step up their game to compete.