As our title says, this is not about ‘fixing our women’, but more about recognizing that specialist, focused programs such as these, are one of the strategic enablers that will help us to reach our goal of gender parity at all ranks of EY.
In December 2008, we ran our first female-specific leadership program in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) and, since then, it has gone from strength to strength. Over that time, we have added a further two programs to the portfolio, focusing on high-potential women, from manager through to newly promoted partners.
There has been a lot of discussion in the market about the value of such programs, but we have always been convinced that they play a strategic role in our overall objective to achieve balanced teaming at EY. In fact, when we completed a piece of internal research looking at 22,000 global audit assignments, we found that the more gender balanced teams were more profitable, while retaining a high level of quality.
Of course, we are not only focused on female development, and all of our people have access to leadership programs at both a local and Regional level, as well as globally. However, we have learnt over the last six years that there is a strong business case to create a space for our women to meet and work together, and we have seen this translate into a strong return on investment that clearly benefits both our women and their colleagues across the rest of the organization. Through this thought leadership, we hope to dispel the myth that “women’s leadership programs are about fixing women.”
- Our women’s leadership programs aim to:
- Demonstrate a commitment to our top-potential female candidates, that they are
- valued and that we support their further growth and success within our organization
- Create an environment for networking that builds relationships
- Create opportunities for our high-potential women to have visibility with senior
- leadership so that further coaching and sponsorship is promoted
- Create a platform for women to recognize and capitalize on the unique strengths and
- attributes that female leaders can bring to the table
Ultimately, we want them to succeed as women, to feel that they can be themselves. We don’t want them to change, we want them to harness the difference that they bring and know that it is valued.
Most interesting for us was the breadth of impact that the programs have had. We heard about it in the interviews with our program alum and saw it in the online survey that we have recently conducted. It has re-energized some of our women, encouraged them to think differently about what they want from their career and how they will achieve it, and has helped them develop strategies that will improve their navigation of the organization. Alum from the programs have decided to relocate countries, take on new products and sectors, start external charitable trusts and launch internal networks.
We do hope you will enjoy reading about our findings and that you will finish this document convinced that there is a strong case for investment in female-specific leadership development.
Please download the full report here