Case Study

Gender Bias Review

Client Profile

Global Professional Services Firm – Over 1200 employees nationally.

The Challenge

Our client is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce and recognises that a key building block in this strategy is to grow the number of women in leadership roles. The challenge they face is that their data shows that in spite of more female graduates being available in New Zealand, and the fact that at the graduate level, their intake is evenly split around gender, the picture at the senior levels is different. More women leave the business after the initial 3-year period, and fewer are making it into leadership positions. Our client wanted to understand some of the barriers that may be playing into this situation, and whether they are behavioural, systemic or a mixture of both.

Our Approach

Our client was keen to outsource the discovery process to an external party, to ensure that there was a level of ‘psychological safety’ in providing feedback. We knew that in order to build rapport, we would need to canvas the views of a broad cross section of employees – this meant that we included both women and men in the discovery process from across New Zealand. We designed an approach that allowed to canvas the opinions of current and ex-employees and Alumni to understand the key factors that attracted them into the industry and firm, and the extent to which their initial perceptions aligned with their actual experience in joining the firm. We also reviewed current exit data to understand what themes were coming through.

What We Delivered

We designed and undertook a series of one-on-one interviews and employee focus groups, to understand some of the key barriers to progression for women in the firm and gathered input into some of the solutions and key priority areas, these employees would like to see addressed.

This enabled us to develop an Executive report, which outlined the findings and included recommendations for action going forward. The Executive report was tabled with the DE&I Steering Committee and Executive leadership and the findings were discussed during a debrief session. From this a number of actions were signed off and endorsed for implementation.

What Our Client Had To Say

We realise that even though we have the right intent, we don’t always know what is standing in the way of progression for some people in the firm. We are committed to gender equality, which means we must continue to work to understand the barriers and put steps in place to address these. This was an excellent piece of work, which gives us a good starting point for understanding more, so that we can do more.

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