When I applied for consulting jobs, the idea that I was entering a male dominated industry didn’t ever occur to me. Gender diversity wasn’t on my radar; my only slight concern was the potential perception of my age and lack of experience - especially after my dad burst out laughing at the idea of me being a consultant: ‘What on earth would you be able to help a business with?!’ – thanks Dad!
The first time I remember being aware of any kind of push for gender diversity was when reading a report before an interview that stated that the opportunity cost of the gender gap was $655bn across just 3 markets (UK, US and India) . I then experienced gender disparity for myself during my assessment centre for Capgemini Consulting where I was one of two girls in a large group – and this is far from abnormal in the consulting industry. So when I turned up to my first day of CDC induction, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself a member of an intake group with a 2:1 female to male ratio. The two week Capgemini CDC induction is an intense, whistle stop tour of key consulting tools, a meet and greet of people of all seniority levels across the company and the opportunity to test our new-found skills in a safe environment. Almost everyone who came in to help with the various sessions immediately remarked upon the fact that there were so many females in the room. It turns out we were a very rare case as an intake consisting of more women than men.
Literature and research suggests that the main cause for the disproportion between Male and Female Consultants lies with the fact fewer women than men are applying for positions within consulting. The fact that our Jan 17 intake had twice the number of females than males suggests that things are changing, at least within the CDC. The reason for this shift likely lies both with the decisions within the recruitment process itself and in Capgemini’s efforts (and the Women in Consulting CDC team specifically) to attract more women to apply, by attending university careers fairs, holding events aimed at high-performing female students, launching a social media campaign, and rebranding our careers website.
January’17 intake with the CDC induction facilitators Hanna and Nirav at the social event: pizza making.
While gender diversity within consulting at graduate level is being addressed, research shows that female partners still account for only 17% of total partners . Development, retention and changing the corporate mind-set must still be addressed, and Capgemini’s ongoing gender diversity campaign seeks to meet these complex issues too. The consulting industry as a whole clearly still has a long way to go. But we at Capgemini are already implementing solutions to encourage women to progress in their careers with programmes such as Outstanding Women in Leadership and CC communities such as Women in Consulting which promote awareness and hold events to encourage more females to consider consulting as a career. So maybe over the next few years, the Jan 17 intake won’t be such an unusual occurrence. I hope that the 2:1 female to male graduate ratio will start being reflected in higher grades too, with more women progressing through from graduate to senior positions. Given it is International Women’s Week, this week is a great time to reflect on how far we have come, and what is still left to do.
If you are interested and want to find out more about life as a female consultant at CCUK follow us on Twitter and share your own views using #womeninconsulting!
 Consultancy.uk - Lack of female leaders costs US, UK and India 655 billion
 Harvard Kennedy School - The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a Field Experiment
 PWC - Gender Diversity in Professional Service Firms: Female Representation Boosts Performance, 2012