Posted: 12 Jan. 2023 4 min.

Three ways of overcoming diversity issues in a professional services firm

Topic: Talent & Lifelong Learning

One of the biggest lessons we have learned coming out of the pandemic is how it, in many ways, has changed how we work. The sudden shift to distributed work allowed us to reimagine and rethink the way we work. Our Impact Report shares stories and highlight some our projects in Deloitte Denmark.

In my younger years, I worked as a senior manager. My projects were challenging and exciting. I sincerely appreciated my role in the organization and enjoyed building long-term relations with clients and colleagues. My ambitions were to create value for our clients, see our projects succeed, and be a good colleague. My job satisfaction was high, and because of that, I didn’t focus on climbing the corporate ladder further and becoming a partner or equity partner, meaning one of the owners of Deloitte Denmark.

Today, I’m one of the few female equity partners at Deloitte. There are only 11 of us out of 109 equity partners. That’s a problem. 

Diversity is good for business. With diversity, our problem-solving skills and innovative capabilities increase. Our clients, our younger talents, and society expect us to reflect the society we are part of. We know from data that as many women as men share the ambition and are equally capable of becoming partners. Therefore, it’s evident that we should do more to advance diversity in our company because it helps grow our bottom line.

And while diversity is demographics, inclusion refers to culture. We can work hard to recruit a mix of diverse talents, but to retain and promote these talents, we must create and showcase a more inclusive culture. We are working intensively to do so. These are some of the steps we are taking:

1.     We make the career path to partnership more transparent
We share a variety of stories about partners and the very different ways they balance their work and personal life. We are also very transparent about what it takes to become a partner and an equity partner. 

2.    We create more flexible career paths
Many – men and women – are promoted to partners while building a family. Taking parental leave can be an issue for both genders. Who manages your client relationships when you’re gone for months? We set realistic targets and create plans that suit the talent and the client. Some partners prefer a helping hand from their colleagues while on parental leave, while others choose to continue the client relationship themselves. 

3.     We work on creating a more inclusive culture
Historically, we are used to recognizing talent as male. And not only that. We have also habitually seen talent as a certain kind of man. For some men, it’s been easy to spot a male as talented as they have resembled themselves in a younger version, and they’ve encouraged these men to become partners. Other types of men or females might show their talents differently. Perhaps they exude extra caution or humility. So, they aren’t encouraged to the same degree to become partners.

Diversity and inclusion are not something that is changed overnight. It takes a dedicated and long-term focus to become aware of the various biases we are all victims to and to change cultures and ways of working. Fostering inclusion has become a growing priority for us and is much more than a strategic pledge. It’s a necessity. 

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