British woman-led technology consultancy expands US footprint

01 June 2018 4 min. read
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Gibbs Hybrid, a UK-based technology consultancy, is expanding its client offering to North America. As women at many UK firms are still struggling to break the infamous ‘glass ceiling’, the consulting firm differentiates itself from competitors via its status as a woman-owned and minority certified business.

A recent report into company governance across the UK’s largest companies provoked further debate, revealing that they continue to drag their feet when it comes to practical implementation of diversity policy. Only 14% of FTSE 250 companies were able to say that more than a third of their directors were female, while reporting on diversity among these companies also declined in recent years. In 2014, 30% of FTSE 250 companies worked to outline company diversity in detail, compared to 11.2% last year.

While some companies have made efforts to change this – with notable exceptions such as consulting firm Brickendon announcing 50% of its senior management will be female by the end of next year – the UK’s reputation for tackling gender equality has fallen behind that of other nations in the annual Women In Work benchmark by Big Four firm PwC. One firm which prides itself on bucking this trend is British-based technology consultancy Gibbs Hybrid, a rapidly growing consultancy which has seen revenues break the $100 million mark after 12 years in business.

British woman-led technology consultancy expands US footprint

Launched in 2005, by namesake and former EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Farida Gibbs, the firm specialises in management, program technology solutions, and outsourcing services, but what sets it apart from its competitors is that Gibbs Hybrid is woman owned and ethnic minority certified. The diversified model of the firm sees it looking to leverage an assortment of reports which suggest that greater inclusion in business leads to improved results – data which Gibbs Hybrid seems to be wielding extremely effectively. Having recently launched in Ireland, Poland and Luxembourg, the firm now has its sights set on the world’s largest consulting market in North America.

Farida Gibbs – who is also the firm’s CEO – is now targeting an annual revenue of $50 million within two years from the US and Canadian markets. Citing the Brexit vote as a potential driving force for greater levels of potential collaboration between US and UK businesses, the firm is aiming to seize on opportunities created by the geopolitical uncertainties present in both nations since 2016. As tariffs stand to tighten and trade relations with many of the US’ own trading partners threaten to cool, many businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are hoping for a freer flow of trade between the two nations, according to Gibbs.

The firm’s unique model may also help mark it out from the crowded US market. According to research from Accenture – which is itself targeting gender equality by 2025 – women are less likely to work than men (50% vs. 76%) – as well as being less likely to occupy the upper ranks of management – which contributes to the ‘invisible pay gap’ which again exacerbates the economic inequality between men and women. Employing more than 600 staff and consultants internationally, Gibbs Hybrid is a certified WBE (woman-owned business) and EMB (ethnic-minority owned business)

In a statement announcing the cross-continental expansion of the firm, Gibbs herself referred to the IFS Digital Change Survey which found that North American companies consider ‘aversion to change’ and ‘security threats/concerns’ to be the major obstacles to digital transformation. Gibbs Hybrid, she said, specialises in removing such barriers.

“The timing of this expansion could not be better,” said Gibbs. She added, “There is a huge growth opportunity for Gibbs Hybrid in North America, as our three pillar model enables companies to address their key concerns when it comes to digitally transforming. This can be anything from improving operational efficiencies, compliance with legislation and battling against evolving security concerns.”