Diversity is a hot topic for all companies. And at Accenture, it’s an issue that has gained even more relevance since Julie Sweet, our Group Chief Executive, announced the members of the new, primarily female leadership team. Julie has expressed her commitment to inclusion and diversity and has implemented recruiting incentives to help make that commitment a reality. There's been quite a shift within Accenture to focus on the importance of gender diversity and to recognize that change really needs to happen.
When I joined Accenture, I was encouraged when the head of our practice reacted positively to my questions about diversity in the workplace. I sensed his commitment to it, and that commitment among Accenture leaders has continued to be true throughout my experience at the firm. Now, as I recruit new people to my team, I make them aware of the programs offered by Accenture.
One of these programs is the Women In Technology group, which I lead. One of our recent group calls included a panel of women talking about the different types of roles that they had filled throughout their careers at Accenture. For instance, when they had small children, they moved into roles that were either less client-facing or less travel intensive. The opportunity to make these kinds of adjustments to your career path encourages positive change and instills a sense of community within people. If we focus on promoting these types of options, we would more effectively attract and retain our female talent.
There is also a general need to shift cultural behavior. Women are often ingrained with certain perceptions of what is required of them in society. There are obviously women who enjoy math and technology who are discouraged from pursuing careers in those areas, because they are not deemed feminine enough. Thankfully, there are now a lot more efforts taking place to embrace women in “non-traditional” gender roles. There are organizations such as Girls Who Code and Women Who Code, focusing on encouraging women of every age to pursue activities and career paths in technology. There is also the Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration — the world's largest gathering of female technologists, which aims to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. These initiatives prove that we are at that point where improvement of gender diversity in the workplace might start to accelerate.
In terms of attracting new talent, graduates expect there to be great diversity within a company. Many times, they're surprised to find that it's still not as good as they might expect. We are still fighting an uphill battle to continue to improve. The numbers still have a long way to go, and I believe that there needs to be a cultural shift, where organizations can play a bigger role in implementing that change.
That’s what makes Accenture a great place to work. It’s a visionary company that embraces everyone, regardless of gender, and focuses on skill sets and ambition — always looking at ways to improve diversity within our workplace.
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