Global Best Practice to Address The Gender Imbalance in Technology: Two Journeys at Deloitte

Case studies

Global Best Practice to Address The Gender Imbalance in Technology: Two Journeys at Deloitte

Australian case study, August 2015

How can companies gain their unfair share of female talent in the technology market? Deloitte Australia turns the lens on itself to investigate different approaches to addressing the gender imbalance in technology. Learn about the intent, measurement and outcomes of initiative-driven change through two case studies from within the Consulting practice.

In an effort to gain an unfair share of female talent, two of Deloitte’s Technology Consulting practices have initiated programs to strengthen the participation, capabilities and retention of women. These case studies outline two different approaches to D&I metrics. The Enterprise Information Management (EIM) practice follows the ‘what gets measured gets done’ approach and began tracking a range of diversity metrics against targets to inspire awareness and accountability for change. The Technology Advisory (TA) practice launched a program in May 2015 to work with the women in the practice to support them in their leadership development. TA is using a range of metrics to evaluate the impact of these initiatives.      

EIM case study

Information Management is not typically an area where women are well-represented. Even with low female representation in technology roles in the external market, Deloitte’s EIM practice within Consulting found itself unquestionably out of balance in terms of gender diversity in November 2013. Irrespective of the causes for this, EIM recognised that a key differentiator for their clients and a critical success factor for their team would be to gain and retain an unfair share of female talent from what is currently a male-dominated market, both in industry and in terms of university graduates.

In response, EIM made some swift leadership decisions and also established a diversity working group to improve its diversity position. As a result of a collaborative and design-oriented approach, including a practice-wide ‘Diversity by Design’ workshop, key priorities were established and initiatives were implemented. Engagement was increased with the student community to strengthen awareness of EIM within the female graduate market. The hiring process and experience was improved by training interviewers in unconscious bias training. In addition, retention has been supported by the development of a networking program for women in EIM to share experiences and ideas.

What gets measured gets done. As a practice specialising in information and data-related services, it was time to practice what was preached to clients: support evaluation and business strategy with data-driven decision-making. Key metrics such as practice and leadership gender composition were identified to track progress on the journey to close the gender gap. Diversity metrics were captured across geographies and levels to help identify specific opportunities for improvement. Metrics reported to the full practice cohort on a bi-month basis – and in the time that they have been in place, EIM has reached all targets set for areas of focus.

Over the last 18 months, an iterative and continuous improvement approach has led to significant progress. Measurement has revealed a marked improvement, with women in the practice up 85%, women in leadership up an incredible 186%, and turnover down to 12% (which places the practice below the industry average level). In addition, the team has experienced cultural outcomes of increased awareness and advocacy, as evidenced by the diversity working group becoming one of Deloitte’s most well-known and highly engaged practice development teams.

An increased focus on the gender gap has improved the engagement and appetite of individuals to drive a broader and more targeted range of diversity-related initiatives. In addition to ongoing monitoring of practice demographics, the team has aligned their diversity approach and metrics to the broader business strategy. The team has also established governance processes to ensure they iteratively measure outcomes and validate their priorities. The overall impact of their diversity approach is already making a difference to the practice as a whole, and on the working lives and attitudes of staff. The EIM case study is proof of a generally accepted view that measurement and target-setting help stimulate change in the complex cultural journey for improved diversity and inclusion.

Back to top

TA Case Study

Deloitte’s ‘Inspiring Women’ program focuses on supporting and developing women across the entire span of their career. Formalised in 2000, the program is not a project but a firm wide strategy founded in good business sense; it's about getting an unfair share of female talent. The aim is to create an inclusive culture driven by the leadership of the firm, and increase the number of women in leadership positions by profiling talented women.

The Melbourne Technology Advisory group in Deloitte Consulting has instigated a local chapter of the Inspiring Women program to help build women’s confidence and leadership capabilities within and across the TA competency. This program, to run initially over 12 months, will bring the women of TA together in an informal environment to develop connections, learn from the experiences of others, and build a solid leadership skill set. 

The Melbourne TA program was developed by drawing on resources from the firm wide Inspiring Women strategy. To inform the selection of content, input was sought from the women of TA to determine what would help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Over the planning sessions, two themes emerged from these discussions: 1) the ability to better manage themselves, and 2) having a supportive and fair workplace. Confidence, and in particular self-efficacy, emerged as a strong trend in the effort to better manage themselves. In order to support and develop skills in this area, sessions on refining their personal elevator pitch, Deloitte’s Business Chemistry style profiling tool, professional presence techniques and behaviours and confidence training have been included in the program. Further development of the workplace to encourage a supportive and fair environment is being promoted by examining the concept of second generation gender bias.

Back to top

To establish metrics for program evaluation, baseline measures were first collected. As part of the discussion of how to better manage themselves in the workplace, self-confidence emerged as an important aspect. To measure changes in the self-confidence of women over the course of the program, the Generalised Self-Efficacy Scale (GSES) (Schwarzer & Jerusalem 1995) was used. This scale assesses the extent to which an individual feels able to respond to difficult situations and obstacles.  

To examine the extent to which women believe their workplace is supportive and fair, the Career Pathways Survey (CPS) (Smith, Crittenden & Caputi 2012) was used to look at women’s attitudes to the obstacles and barriers in front of women seeking promotion to the top level of organisations. This was chosen as an indirect measure of how supported and balanced women perceive their workplace to be. The CPS examines four attitudes toward seeking promotion; resilience, denial, resignation and acceptance.

It is expected that over the course of the Melbourne TA Inspiring Women Program, an increase in self-efficacy of the participants will be reflected in higher GSES scores.  By the end of the program, it is expected that will feel more supported in their workplace and this will be reflected in a higher resilience score and lower scores on resignation and acceptance using the CPS.

Hubbard, E. E. (2004). The diversity scorecard: Evaluating the impact of diversity on organizational performance. Routledge.

Schwarzer, R., & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized Self-Efficacy scale. In J. Weinman, S. Wright, &M. Johnston, Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio. Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35-37). Windsor, England: NFER-NELSON.

Smith, P., Crittenden, N., & Caputi, P. (2012). Measuring women's beliefs about glass ceilings: development of the Career Pathways Survey. Gender in Management: An International Journal27(2), 68-80.

For further information please contact Rebecca Weir (Deloitte Consulting – EIM) or Kate Birch (Deloitte Consulting – TA).

Did you find this useful?