FTI Consulting launches female diversity programme

22 June 2015 Consultancy.uk

Diversity has the potential to create a wealth of opportunities for businesses – both in terms of business outcomes as well as wider social benefits. Consulting firms have taken a keen interest in improving female representation – among other “minorities”. To improve female acquisition and retention within FTI Consulting, the firm launched FTI WIN, a global initiative which seeks to facilitate greater female participation in its management as well as improve networking opportunities.

Diversity is good for business. Companies that have a diverse workforce are considerably better at innovation and outperform their competition. This has been shown across a number of studies – also recently highlighted by BCG – with gender diverse companies 45% more likely to improve market share, achieve 53% higher returns on equity, and are 70% more likely to report successfully capturing new markets. Despite the clear rationale behind diversity, women remain under represented in businesses across the globe, with surprisingly Eastern European countries leading the way when to comes down to women at the top.

Female diversity programme

To improve the attractiveness, hiring, development and retention of talented females from around the world, FTI Consulting has launched a diversity programme that aims to grow the firm’s people diversity, as well as bring in a focus on maintaining a strong culture of diversity and inclusion in its staff programme. To do this, the business advisory firm has – with the key support of its senior leadership – established the FTI WIN community in all its major global offices. Female professionals at all levels of the firm’s ranks are eligible to partake in the community.

The goal of the programme is to improve the culture women face within the business environment toward inclusion, which includes increasing the representation of women in senior leadership positions and in critical decision-making and planning; improving the ratio of women in senior leadership positions through retention; creating additional opportunities for network with female executives and making FTI Consulting a place in which women can build long-term careers. In the long-run the global consulting firm hopes its participating employees, alumni later on, will be inspired by the community and serve as ‘female advocates’ to the initiative.

FTI WIN Global Steering Committee

Holly Paul, Human Resources Officer of FTI Consulting and member of the FTI WIN’s Global Steering Committee, says about the programme: “FTI WIN is a tremendous way to interact and collaborate with our colleagues, both women and men, across the globe and our many businesses. This program is key to the advancement of diversity at FTI Consulting as we look to further enhance the culture of our great firm.” In November last year Paul was appointed to the Board of Directors of the AMCF. 

Diversity programmes
FTI Consulting is one among many professional services firms seeking to improve the cultural inclusion for a diverse range of people in business, including women. In the UK Accenture for example recently launched its Geeks for Girls programme to increase female representation in STEM subjects, while MACE signed up to the WISE programme, also with the aim of improving female representation in STEM. In the DACH region, Bain & Company has for example for a number of years now been following a differentiated approach for recruiting female top talent. 

Holly Paul - FTI Consulting

With the large-scale efforts come also successes. Earlier this year PwC’s CEO Dennis Nally was named a Corporate Impact Champion for his successful role of promoting the HeForShe programme – within and without PwC, while two months ago six employers in the consulting industry were all named in the top 50 UK employers for women: Arup, Capgemini, EY, KPMG, McKinsey & Company and PwC.

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Women remain underrepresented in UK's hospitality industry leadership

12 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Female engagement at the top level of the UK hospitality industry is still lagging, with the vast majority of decision-making roles continue to be held by men. Only 7% of the industry’s FTSE 350 CEOs are women; however, the pay gap in hospitality and leisure is far better than in other industries, at a median of approximately 7%.

The hospitality, travel and leisure (HTL) sector is one of the UK’s largest employers, with 3.2 million people working in its segments. Despite a poor 2018 in terms of tightening consumer spending, the industry is still one of the top sectors in terms of economic activity, hitting £130 billion last year – besting the UK’s automotive, pharmaceutical and aeronautical sectors’ combined activities.

While the industry is one of the country’s largest employers, it still faces considerable issues around diversity at the top. New analysis from PwC has explored the matter, as well what initiatives the industry has engaged to open up its top ranks to a more diverse background.

Female representation at board level for UK companies and HTLs

According to a survey of CEOs, Chairs or HR Directors of over 100 of the most significant leisure businesses across the UK, the hospitality industry has a relatively male-dominated top level. This lags behind the FTSE 100, where companies have female board level representation at 32.2%. Meanwhile, the figure for the combined executive committee and direct reports stands at 28%. This is well above FTSE 250 levels, where female board level representation stands at 22.4% and executive committee & direct reports stand at 27.8%.

For the hospitality industry as a whole, board level representation came in at 23.6%, with FTSE 350 for the industry performing slightly better at 25.1%, while non-listed companies performed considerably worse at 18.2%. The firm notes that the figures hide that while some companies are making strides to improve equality, others are not moving forward – with the positive result reflecting more often the good work of some, while others are not taking the issue seriously in their agenda setting.

Blind spot

The study states, however, that while the overall numbers are relatively strong, the industry has a number of acute weaknesses. These include CEO numbers, with only 7% of HTL FTSE 350 companies helmed by women and 11% of non-listed companies led by female CEOs. Meanwhile, female chairs at FTSE 350 companies for the sector stand at zero. In terms of wider diversity representation, only 1 in 33 leaders at industry companies is from a BAME background.

Pay gap for HTL and hospitality

The report noted discrepancies between FTSE 100 companies and FTSE 250 in terms of improving the number of women at executive level. The majority have met the Hampton-Alexander Review target of 33% women at board level, up from around 25% in 2016. However, the remaining ~40% are not on target, and are unlikely to meet the target by 2020. A similar trend is noted when it comes to executive committee and direct reporting numbers.

Jon Terry, Diversity & Inclusion Consulting Leader at PwC, said, "To make real progress in diversity and inclusion, businesses need to elevate it onto the CEO’s agenda and align diversity & inclusion strategy to the fundamentals of the business."

Tracking progress FTSE 250 level

However, one area where hospitality travel and leisure companies are outperforming other companies in the wider UK economy, is the mean and median pay gap between men and women. PwC found that the median of the wider UK economy comes is approximately 14% – with upper quartile companies noted for a gap of low 20%, and lower quartile companies noted for differences of around 2%.

The median pay gap for HTL comes in at well below 7%, with the median close to parity. There are considerable differences, however, with hospitality at 7%, while travel comes in considerably higher, at 22%. The latter figure reflects fewer women in higher paid pilot and technical positions within the industry.