04 February 2016

Making diversity a reality – spotlight on Financial Services

Your board wants diversity. Your clients and employees expect it. But while progress is being made, there is more we want to do with regards to diversifying the financial services (FS) industry. And among the biggest obstacles we face are preferences and prejudices that people may not even be aware of, such as unconscious bias.

Research by neuroscientists identifies that we’re all susceptible to unconscious bias. First impressions do indeed count. Research also identifies we’re more likely to trust people of a similar age, appearance and background to ourselves which often leads management to favour people like themselves when picking out candidates for hiring and promotion. These responses can be quite natural, just one of the shortcuts our brains use to speed up decision making in a complex world. But in business, unconscious bias can be a blind spot and when left unmanaged, organisations may miss out on the opportunity to recruit and develop people with cutting-edge talents, innovative new ideas and a broader range of personal and professional experience.  

Many of these individuals may have been traditionally under-represented in FS management, including women, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities.


Tackling unconscious bias

So how can you tackle unconscious biases?  As we explore in our new report, Making diversity a reality, you can make people more aware of their potential blind spots and develop ways to mitigate them. This includes tracking whether hiring and promotion are equal and, if not, determining whether potential biases may be at play. We refer to this process as ‘creating tension in the system’. If, for example, the proportion of men promoted is significantly greater than the proportion of highly rated men eligible for promotion, can it be justified?  If not, what more can be done?

Word soon spreads

The brightest and best candidates actively seek out organisations that promote genuine diversity and will look to their personal and professional networks to find out whether your business is one of them. Making diversity a demonstrable reality in your business can therefore boost your employer brand and give you a powerful edge in a competitive job market.

Find out more in our Making diversity a reality report by clicking here.

Jon Terry

Global FS HR Consulting Leader

Jon Jon Terry is a member of both PwC’s global and UK financial services leadership team. He is based in our London office with responsibility for the people strategy for approximately 45,000 global financial services specialists.

Jon is also the market leader of PwC’s global Financial Services HR Consulting practice, supporting organisations on their HR challenges. Jon specialises in all aspects of employee motivation and pay. Jon has worked for PwC for over 25 years and works exclusively advising financial services organisations on their HR and reward issues. Jon has extensive experience in advising on all aspects of motivation and pay including roles, responsibilities, performance management and remuneration.

22 January 2016

The HeForShe Parity Report: Leaders talk diversity progress at the World Economic Forum

On 23 January 2015 Emma Watson took the stage of the World Economic Forum in Davos to launch the 10x10x10 impact initiative of the United Nations HeForShe Campaign; the aim being to galvanise momentum in advancing gender equality.  PwC were one of three founding corporate sponsors, and this morning, one year on our global chairman Dennis Nally and the other male CEO impact champions joined Emma Watson on stage at this year’s Davos forum to talk about the progress that has been made and what more needs to be done. 

If you missed the live event, you can tune in to watch a recording here.


The corporate impact champions represent ten of the world’s leading companies and between them over one million employees across the globe.  This year, along with PwC, they took the unprecedented bold step of releasing their workforce gender diversity figures, including details on leadership roles and board membership, in UN Women’s inaugural HeForShe Parity Report. Check the report out here: http://bit.ly/1QmWZFu



At PwC we’ve been busy driving action to deliver on our HeForShe commitments, this includes the launch of our dedicated PwC HeForShe website to help accelerate the HeForShe movement globally both within and beyond PwC last June.  At the time this blog goes live we are pleased to share that over 41,000 people from across the world have pledged as HeForShe supporters via our website, including over 20,000 PwC men. 


Finally, we leave you with some critical words of advice from Dennis Nally to help you understand how to turn words into action on gender parity: http://pwc.to/1T7Xvb4  

Don’t forget to visit our website to make your #HeForShe commitment or access all of our great gender equality action and support tools now.

06 January 2016

Calling all introverts, 10 tips to help you network your own way!

Happy New Year to all our readers, I’m sure many of you are busy making New Year’s resolutions and perhaps for some of you the opportunity to enhance your networking skills is included in that list.  As a frequent traveller one tip I’ve picked up to help me manage my network is marking a star beside everyone on the event or conference attendance list I’ve engaged with.  Then when I’m waiting in the airport departure lounge I’ll take out the list and invite them all to connect on LinkedIn.  Here are ten more great networking tips from this week’s guest blogger Sheila Cassidy.



I distinctly remember my first formal networking event – to put it simply – I was terrified! I had preconceived notions that it was for the extroverted and involved creating artificial relationships. My first exposure to networking was while preparing to travel to Washington D.C. for a summer internship. Thanks to a summer of having frankly no option but to attend formal networking events on a regular basis, my fear abated and I found networking became much easier. I have come to see the process as basically making a host of new and interesting friends.  Now I don’t think twice about attending a networking event on my own and my initial perception of networking as a terrifying activity has completely shifted. 

As I’ve gained networking experience, I’ve realised the importance of networking in a way that suits my personality and style. I’ve always naturally preferred smaller, more intimate groups so when I proactively network I plan one-on-one coffees or lunches. I’ve also used my own personal network to become more “networked” as it feels more natural to be connected to new people through people I already know.

Through networking I have been inspired, gained sponsors and mentors, got jobs, sourced guest speakers and been introduced to amazing people. Some of whom will be friends for life.

At PwC we hire some 26,000 graduate hires across our network of member firms annually and odds are that about half of these hires along with campus hires across the world are introverts like me. So I’ve pulled together ten tips to help introverted graduates starting out in their careers network in a way that works for them.  

1. Be pro-active

Especially when you start at a new firm, ask people to lunch or coffee. If they say no – who cares! You are demonstrating your proactive nature to learn and connect. If you don’t know what to talk about, ask them about their career or what advice would they give someone starting out in their career? People appreciate being asked about their experience and having their opinions valued.

2. Be authentic

The most important thing is to be your true self and maintain authentic relationships. If you have an ulterior motive, it will be transparent and will prevent you from building a trust-based relationship.

3. Follow-up and maintain

Following up is one of the most important aspects of networking. You should ideally follow up within 24 hours to say “it was lovely to meet you and I found our discussion on x, y and z really interesting”. Maintaining the relationship is crucial. You can do this by sending on interesting articles or simply retweeting their posts.  For example, I have an Irish colleague who sends all his American contacts a message on Thanksgiving.

4. Personalise your message

People receive hundreds of e-mails every week, so be different. For example, after I finished an internship I shared a deck outlining all the lessons I’d learnt and events I’d been involved in over the year. It was a great way to say thank you to the firm and demonstrated that I’d made the most of the opportunity they’d given me.  It also worked as of the 150 people I sent it to two thirds responded.

5. Don’t forget about your peers and colleagues

When graduates think about networking they immediately think about networking with management and clients but it is just as important to network with your peers – they will be your teammates now and leaders in the future. Also, getting to know people from different areas of the firm is an important step; it helps to broaden your network and your understanding of the business.

6. Go to events on your own…eventually

For the first few networking events you attend, go with a group or colleague you feel comfortable with. You can observe how others network, gather a list of questions and see what works and what doesn’t. When you are ready to attend on your own, get the attendee list in advance and break down the room into more manageable lists, such as people you already know and people you would like to get to know. Preparation will make it much less intimidating. In addition, to combat the awkwardness of going on your own, arrive 10 minutes early as it is easy to connect with the first few people that arrive.

7. Map your network

When exploring what you want to achieve in your career or personal life, start to think about the people in your network that are already doing it. Map out who would be beneficial for you to receive advice from and don’t be intimated by their title. To share an example that’s close to home: I am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion, so when I started at PwC  I reached out to Aoife (editor of this blog) and now I’m writing guest blogs, have a mentor and have made a friend.

8. You always have something to give

At a junior level, we often worry that we have nothing to offer – but you might be surprised. Junior members of staff often offer energy, enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and an appreciation for advice. If you are intimidated by reaching out to someone that is in a leadership position, try to think about how nice it would be if someone reached out to you asking for your time? It’s important we all remember that we each have something to offer. For example, we might be able to reverse mentor leaders on topics like social media.

9. Practice your elevator pitch, handshake and have your business cards ready

Have your elevator pitch ready - short and snappy with no wasted words. In addition, your handshake is one of the first impressions you make – make sure it is a good one. Keep it firm, dry and remember eye contact! Lastly, get business cards and have them readily accessible. A great tip I received was to write anything distinctive about the person on the back of their business card. If you meet a lot of people in one night it can be difficult to remember who’s who.

10. Say thanks

When you start at a new firm, you meet loads of people that are facilitating training, giving you insights into the firm or helping you with your first project – make sure to thank them at the end of the session and send a follow-up e-mail. The simple step of showing appreciation can make a difference and starts your relationship on a strong foundation.

Thanks for reading and to those who contributed their ideas. Feel free to comment on what your own top networking tips are below.


Sheila Sheila Cassidy is a Senior Associate with PwC Ireland's Consulting practice and specialises in helping organisations during transformational change. Sheila has experience in the Retail and Consumer, Start-up and Aviation sector. Since joining the firm Sheila co-founded the Lean In Speaker Series in PwC Ireland, which is designed to encourage discussion about personal and professional development and diversity and inclusion in the firm. Prior to starting with PwC Ireland, Sheila completed a Masters of Science in Management and Bachelor of Law in Queens University Belfast and The University of Newcastle, Australia. Sheila has worked in numerous organisations, including time abroad in London and Atlanta.

23 December 2015

PwC’s 12 gifts of diversity

Wow, can you believe it, another year almost over.  Where does the time go? It seems it moves especially fast when you are getting to work on lots of exciting projects and initiatives and this has certainly been the case for our Global Diversity Programme Office this year. So, to wrap up the year we’d like to share our “12 gifts of diversity” from 2015 with our Gender Agenda readers.

Gift 1 – The CEO view

In January we launched our 18th Annual CEO survey and this year Diversity was one of the key themes.  CEOs from across the globe told us that talent diversity and inclusiveness are no longer considered ‘soft’ issues, but rather as crucial competitive capabilities. Furthermore, of the CEOs whose companies have a formal D&I strategy, 85% think it’s improved the bottom line in addition to other benefits such as enhanced: innovation, collaboration, customer satisfaction and talent attraction. Explore the diversity findings here.

Gift 2 – Aspire to Lead

In February, we hosted our second global webcast in our Aspire to Lead series focused on women and leadership.  Titled “The Confidence to Lead” and focusing on the question, ‘What would you do if you were not afraid?’ the webcast was watched by thousands of campus students across the globe.  Watch the webcast recording and learn more about our 2016 Aspire event by clicking here.

Gift 3 – The case for change

In February, our UK firm launched their (if I do say so myself, truly fantastic) The case for change: Taking action to be more open minded video. The film traces the journey of equality by looking back at some of the key global milestones in history emphasising that when we want to change and when we decide to act, great things can happen.  Watch it here

Gift 4 – How to address gender bias in Global Mobility

In February, our Australian firm in collaboration with The Centre for Ethical Leadership launched their Developing female leaders: Addressing gender bias in global mobility research report.  Access it here and continue to watch this space as we recently embarked on a ground-breaking global Talent Diversity & Mobility research study and will be bringing you the results during March of next year.

Gift 5 - Insights from female millennial talent

In March we launched The female millennial: A new era of talent, a report sharing the views of almost 10,000 female millennials from over 75 countries.  The report told us one thing is clear: when we consider the female millennial (women born between 1980-95) we really are talking about a new era of female talent.  They are more highly educated, entering the workforce in larger numbers and are more career confident and ambitious than their previous generations.  Access the report here.

Gift 6 – PwC’s Women in Work Index

In March, the third annual update of our PwC Women in Work Index also launched.  The Index is a weighted average of various measures that reflect female economic empowerment. Once again the Nordic countries continued to dominate the Index, with Norway remaining in pole position.  Find out where your country ranks by clicking here

Gift 7 – Women in Technology blog

In June, PwC’s technology group recognised that we have a gender balance problem in technology, which is not unique to PwC. To create awareness and help drive change, PwC’s Women in Technology – Change the ration blog was launched.  Find out more about why here.

Gift 8 - Global Diversity Week

This June, we were very excited to host our second ever Global Diversity Week Inclusion campaign, engaging all of our people across the globe (over 200,000 of them) with the theme ‘From awareness to action’.  Learn more about our activities and how you might drive a similar campaign at your organisation here.

Gift 9 – The PwC HeForShe website

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last January, we were very excited when our Global Chairman Dennis Nally became one of the first corporate leaders to sign on as an IMPACT 10x10x10 UN HeForShe champion.  In June, we launched our dedicated PwC HeForShe website to help accelerate the HeForShe movement globally both within and beyond PwC.  As of today over 25,000 people from across the world have pledged as HeForShe supporters via our website, including 12,880 PwC men.  Visit our website to make your pledge or access all of our great gender equality action and support tools now.

Gift 10 – Raise the bar for yourself

In August we shared a recording of Nora Wu’s (PwC PwC Vice Chairwoman and Global Human Capital Leader) TEDx Women in Shanghai TED talk.  Nora is incredibly authentic, impressive, humble and inspiring.  Thousands have already watched it, so why not be inspired by Nora’s career experience and tips by tuning in and watching her TED talk here.

Gift 11 – Spotlight on Financial Services: Diversity Matters

This November, our colleagues in Financial Services launched their Making diversity a reality: Realising the power and potential of a changing workforce report.  Diversity in all its forms is a vital element of the changing talent focus within financial services.  Read the report to find out if your organisation is doing enough to support diversity and inclusion throughout all the milestones of your employee’s career, from recruitment and development opportunities to promotion. Access it here.

Gift 12 – Our Gender Agenda blog

Hopefully our readers agree that our Gender Agenda blog is the gift that keeps on giving with this entry marking our 22nd blog of 2015.  We want to thank you wholeheartedly for reading our blog throughout the year, you are one of almost 50,000 readers who tuned in this year alone.  As our final “gift of diversity” we share one of our most popular blogs of 2015 with you – Are you creating the right type of feedback culture?

So from myself and Dale, we would like to sign off this last blog for 2015 by wishing you all a fantastic holiday, no matter how you celebrate it, and a very happy New Year.  


Aoife and Dale

02 December 2015

Is a global career high on your agenda? Have your say!

This week we bring you the exciting news that PwC is launching a global talent diversity and global mobility research study.

Did you know that female demand for international experiences has never been higher, with 71% of female millennials saying they want to work outside their home country during their career? Given that only 20% of current international assignees are female, this reveals unprecedented – and as yet un-met – demand for international experience from the female millennial.

In light of such dramatic shifts, multinational organisations worldwide are facing the challenge of creating and delivering inclusive global mobility programmes that realise the full opportunities created by today’s workforce demographics. Demographics such as the rise in dual-career couples, increasing eldercare responsibilities due to an ageing population, and critical skills gaps in key geographies.

Meanwhile, members of this fast-changing modern workforce (men and women) are frustrated by the perceived lack of international opportunities available to them, the low levels of organisational support provided during their international assignments, and quite often the discrepancy between the expected and actual impacts that these international experiences have on their careers.

At PwC, we believe that – alongside its other benefits – global mobility provides opportunities to foster greater diversity and inclusion in organisations.  But to drive global mobility strategies that get this right, organisations must first gain a better understanding of the international career aspirations and experiences of today’s workforce. 

To gain these insights, we have commissioned Opinium Research to conduct a ground-breaking global research study.  Aimed at engaging the workforce of today and the leaders of tomorrow, the survey is open to women and men who are interested in, currently on or have completed an international experience.

Our research objective is to help organisations – including ourselves – to better understand how talent diversity and global mobility intersect, and what this means for the development and delivery of transformational inclusive talent strategies. 

So, is a global career high on your agenda? If the answer is yes, then why not share your views and help to shape the inclusive talent strategies of tomorrow?  You can play your part now by simply investing 12 minutes of your time to complete the survey by clicking here!  

We’ll be sharing the findings of our research with you in early March, so watch this space!

Want to share this survey with someone you know? Just share the message below via your social media channels:

Is international experience important to you? Join #PwC #GlobalMobility study to have your say: http://pwc.to/1jBfYOA 


20 November 2015

Gender equality – don’t be afraid to ask questions

This week we bring you the third in a series of guest blogs from male PwC gender equality champions with Peter Yobo sharing why men have an opportunity to commit to gender equality, whatever that means where they are from. Peter Yobo is HeForShe, are you? To learn more about how you can be a part of HeForShe, please visit heforshe.pwc.com today and join the 20,897 men and women from across the globe who have already pledged on our website.



As a young boy growing up in the capital city of Accra, Ghana, I had a bright future ahead of me. As the only son in my family I was expected to go to school, get a job, and be successful enough to take care of my parents. The same was expected of both my sisters.

However, this wasn’t the case across the country. The norm especially in the villages was to ensure the eldest son went to school to meet the same expectations my parents had of me and be sent to the capital if finances allowed. Any younger brothers would follow the same path if the parents could afford it, if not they move in with another family member who could put them through school. The girls on the other hand, were made to stay home to help with the chores or on the farm while they were prepped for marriage.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I started hearing about gender equality initiatives when I moved to the U.S. Women in the U.S. could go to school, get jobs, and in many cases oversaw the work of other men.  This is something that is often unheard of in my home country along with many others. I must admit that in my ignorance I really did not think there was a problem in the U.S.

The good thing about being from another country is that people allow you to ask questions most people wouldn’t, assuming that you haven’t fully adjusted to the U.S. culture and may still be a little culturally awkward. I still am after 10 years of living here, so I reached out to some of my female friends to understand what being a woman in the U.S. workforce looked like.


The conversation opened my eyes to some of the issues women face in the U.S. around compensation, managing motherhood and work, fewer women in leadership and less support from men in achieving their goals, etc.  Studies show that in 2010, women earned just 77 cents for every dollar men made, and that of the top 500 companies by revenues, only 21 are headed by women.  I quickly learned that just because the issues weren’t the same in Ghana and other parts of the world, it didn’t mean gender equality issues aren’t as real here in the U.S. and in other developed countries. That while the same things might not spring to mind when one thinks gender equality dependent on where they sit in the world, this is a global issue.

The gender equality issue is about more than just awareness -- it needs to be an intentional collaboration from both genders. But since I am a man, I want to speak to you men. The role we are to play is bigger than simply embracing gender equality initiatives, instead to courageously engage our female colleagues, no matter where they sit in the world, in open, honest, and vulnerable conversation and step into opportunities to expand the conversation beyond perhaps just our male viewpoint of gender equality. It might take being a little culturally or socially awkward to foster an environment where gender equality is our culture. I challenge you to join me in committing to HeForShe and asking that female friend, colleague, family member to an open and honest conversation on the topic.

I am an advocate for global gender equality. I am HeForShe.


Yobo2 Peter is a consultant with PwC Advisory and specialises in helping organisations realise financial and operational improvement through organisational, process and technology change. He has consulted with companies in the Technology, Information, Communications and Entertainment sectors. Peter is also very passionate about Diversity & Inclusion and as a proud supporter of global gender equality, Peter promptly took the #HeforShe pledge.

29 October 2015

Shaping Up for Success – Career Advancement Opportunities and Choices

This year the International Women of Excellence (IWE) celebrate their ten year anniversary and as an active sponsor of the IWE for the past seven years, we were very happy to be part of these celebrations by hosting their inaugural Irish event here in PwC Ireland’s Dublin office.   

The event brought 30 women together from seven organisations to explore career advancement opportunities and choices in a safe environment.  Overall it was a fantastic day and I wanted to share some of the nuggets I took away with our Gender Agenda readers. 

The workshop was facilitated by Christine Champion and she opened the session with an ice-breaker whereby we introduced ourselves to others we’d never met before using the following information: 

  1. Who or what has inspired me in life
  2. A career success I am proud of
  3. A memorable thing I have done
  4. The strengths and qualities I am best known for

It is a well-researched phenomenon that women aren’t as good or as comfortable at promoting themselves or talking about their achievements as men are.  For this reason it was one of the most enjoyable beginnings to a workshop I’ve ever had.  I got to hear some pretty inspiring things about the women I was sharing a room with for the rest of the day and it also forced 30 women to talk positively about ourselves.


Something I’d like to take away from this experience is to use this concept (in particular points 2, 3 and 4) to revisit my “Elevator Pitch”.  I’m sure we’ve all been given the advice that we need to be armed with an “Elevator Pitch” at some point.  Ultimately this means being able to articulate what you do and the value you bring in the time it takes to travel in an elevator (or lift as we call them here in Ireland).  If it’s good it will hopefully lead to a more robust conversation.

I plan to revisit my Elevator Pitch to see how I can embed these positive themes in the hope that it will prompt questions about those positive experiences.  I encourage other women to do the same.  If asked directly to talk about something positive we’ve briefly touched on in our “Elevator Pitch” it might make us feel a little bit more comfortable when it comes to “bragging” about our achievements.

After lunch we had a fantastic panel session with three inspiring female leaders who talked very authentically and candidly about their careers.  They left me feeling inspired so I’m going to share a little nugget from each of them so that you can feel inspired too.

The more senior you get the more autonomy you have

Unmanageable workload demands are a common perception of more senior level positions, but in reality the more senior you are, the more likely you will have control over where, how and when you work.  The lesson: don’t let concerns that your workload or schedule will become unmanageable sway you from putting yourself forward to advance.

Perfect is the enemy of good enough

I used to pride myself on being a perfectionist.  Not so true anymore, as I’ve advanced in my career and the scope of my roles and deliverables have grown broader and broader being a perfectionist works against me. As a rule of thumb I now try to apply my own version of the 80-20 rule to my work output. If I’m satisfied that my output has hit 80% on the perfection chart then it’s good enough. In practice it’s probably more like 95% but at least I’m getting better!  The lesson: perfect is the enemy of good enough is a rule to live by.

Know what your non-negotiables are and live by them

This piece of advice really struck a chord with me.  This leader spoke about how she is very clear on the non-negotiable that between half five and half seven every evening she is not contactable so that she can be completely focused on her children during this time.  She also spoke about the non-negotiables she has had throughout her career and various different personal circumstances.  There was a clear take away in the room that you don’t have to have children to have non-negotiables and that no matter the position you hold we should all have them. The lesson: No matter your professional or personal circumstances know and live by your non-negotiables.

I’m currently working out what my own non-negotiables will be; why don’t you join me?





Based in Dublin, Ireland, Aoife Flood is Senior Manager of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Programme Office for PwC International Limited with responsibility for the development and implementation of our network-wide global Diversity & Inclusion strategy.

She is a proud PwC female millennial and lead researcher and author of our ‘The female millennial: A new era of talent’ and 'Next Generation Diversity: Developing tomorrow's female leaders' thought leadership publications.

Aoife is also co-author of our Global Gender Agenda blog. You can learn more about Aoife here

15 October 2015

It’s time to hit re-set regarding how we think about today’s dads.

This week, guest blogger, Dr. Brad Harrington, Executive Director of the Boston College Centre for Work & Family and a professor at the Carroll School of Management, shares his insights on the changing role of fathers.

For the past six years, my colleagues and I at the Boston College Center for Work & Family have been researching the changing role of fathers in America and our extensive research makes one thing clear, it’s time to hit re-set in terms of how people think about today’s dads. 

That is why we decided to call this year’s report The New Dad: A Portrait of Today's Father. It seems we are not alone in our thinking, Getty Images, the large American stock photo agency which supplies images for the media, creative professionals, and businesses have also observed a marked shift. In a recent article featured in ADWEEK they shared that images tagged “modern dad” or “stay-at-home dad” have increased in sales by over 450 percent over the past eight years.

Our research has looked at dads of young infants, professional dads in large corporations, at-home dads, etc., and with each year our depiction becomes fuller and richer. 


This year we have synthesized our previous five years of research with that of some of North America's leading fatherhood scholars to paint a portrait of today's fathers.

What are some of the highlights of the portrait that we share in this year's report?

  • Dads today are much more hands-on and engaged with their children than fathers were a generation ago. They no longer see their role primarily as a breadwinner. The majority want to share parenting responsibilities equally with their spouse and struggle with knowing that their actions are not yet aligned with their aspirations. In fact recent evidence suggests that working fathers may experience as much or more work-family conflict than their female counterparts.

  • No doubt we’ve all been witness to fathers being celebrated for parenting activities that are quite simply just expected of mothers, prime example “oh isn’t he so good for doing the school run”. Yet, while many believe that dads who take time off with their kids are viewed as "heroic" in the workplace, this isn't necessarily true for fathers who are consistently visibly involved in care-giving. Research suggests these fathers face stigma and career penalties.

  • Dads are very keen to see their companies offer paid paternity leave. While "conventional wisdom" says fathers won't use the time they've been given, research suggests otherwise. In one of our Center's studies, when dads in professional positions were asked how much time they took off for paternity leave, the most frequent answer dads gave was as much as their company offered, even if that was 4 or 6 weeks (as long as it was paid leave).Policies that offer greater equality in parental leave are clearly on the rise. For example, PwC’s US firm has recently expanded their parental leave policy to provide all new parents (including adoptive and foster parents) with six consecutive weeks of paid time off during the first year following a birth, adoption or foster placement.  
  • We are also beginning to see a dramatic shift and so more accurate view of today’s father in the mass media. Major social movements typically need a very long horizon before lasting change can be observed. While the shift toward seeing fathers in a new, more nuanced and holistic light may still be work-in-progress, significant gains have occurred in only a few short years. These gains will benefit society, families, spouses, children and most of all, the fathers themselves.

Organisations should do the work necessary to ensure their policies, programmes, and culture are in step with today’s realities and not based on outdated gender stereotypes. Progressive initiatives (such as the aforementioned paid paternity leave) are critical for employers to become talent magnets for “The New Dad”. In the long run, this will create a more inclusive workplace that benefits these men and their working spouses.  



Dr. Brad Harrington is Executive Director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family and a research professor in the Carroll School of Management.

You can learn more about Brad by clicking here.

Learn more about The New Dad: A Portrait of Today’s Father research report by clicking here or access the complete “New Dad” research series here.

21 September 2015

Female millennial jet-setters

When it comes to the female millennial our research tells us one thing is clear: female demand for international mobility has quite simply never been higher.  A whopping 71% of female millennials told us they want to work overseas during their career.  Given international organisations are placing growing importance on the establishment of leadership teams and an employee base that is globally competent, it is no surprise that 62% of millennial women feel international experience is critical to further their career.

However the number of women undertaking these sought after international assignments is not proportionate to their representation in the workforce.  In fact, despite the number of female assignees doubling in the past decade, women make up 20% of current international assignees. Research by Catalyst identifies that gaining international experience advances men’s and women’s careers further and faster, yet the best and brightest female talent are not undertaking these international opportunities at the same rates as their male peers.

Our most recent female millennial research is revealing.  Female millennials are 21% less likely than their male counterparts to believe that men and women have equal opportunity to undertake international assignments at their current employer.  Furthermore the more career experienced the female millennial is, the more likely she is to agree less with this statement: 60% of career starters agreed (0-3 years’ work experience) compared with 53% of career establishers (9 or more years’ work experience).


There is a plethora of research pointing out lots of gender differences just one of which is that women tend to be more risk averse with their decision making both in work and when it comes to their careers.  

When I was 25, I had the opportunity to go and work in our US firm’s Boston office for six months. It was an amazing experience and, to this day, it is unparalleled for the level of accelerated personal and professional growth I gleaned from the experience. But it was hard. Yes, Boston is probably the most Irish place I could have gone on an international assignment, but believe me it was not without its challenges.

Never mind it being my first time living overseas, it was my first time living outside of my family home. I was moving into a completely new role I had no prior experience in and I did not know a single person in Boston. So yes, it was tough, but I will never forget how I felt when I got back to Dublin. The whole experience literally made me feel ‘career invincible’. Like wow, if I survived that I could survive anything my career might throw at me. Without doubt, getting that experience early in my career made me much less ‘career-risk adverse’ and was instrumental in establishing a pattern where I consistently seek out challenging opportunities that keep me inspired, motivated and engaged. Quite simply, I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today had it not been for my international assignment experience.


I’m a firm believer that getting women international experience early in their career will have a number of benefits.  Firstly, it will help create the global acumen and out of comfort distinctive experience required to advance to leadership levels.  Secondly, it will set women up to be less career risk averse and with that braver with their career decisions. And finally, it will support an inclusive global mobility culture in organisations with these women more likely to undertake further international assignments, recommend such experiences to female peers and sponsor more junior female talent for such experiences as they progress up the corporate ladder.

Having a global mobility programme that enables early international experience for female talent is just one of many ways to drive a more gender inclusive global mobility programme.  Learn about other critical opportunities based on Australian research in PwC Australia’s recent research publication Developing Female Leaders: Addressing Gender Bias in Global Mobility




Based in Dublin, Ireland, Aoife Flood is Senior Manager of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Programme Office for PwC International Limited with responsibility for the development and implementation of our network-wide global Diversity & Inclusion strategy.

She is a proud PwC female millennial and lead researcher and author of our ‘The female millennial: A new era of talent’ and 'Next Generation Diversity: Developing tomorrow's female leaders' thought leadership publications.

Aoife is also co-author of our Global Gender Agenda blog. You can learn more about Aoife here

02 September 2015

Be a driver for change

This week we bring you the second of a series of guest blogs from male PwC gender equality champions with Connor Deeks sharing the very inspiring story of why he is HeForShe and how he is trying to make a difference.



You’ve probably been seeing a lot lately about UN Women’s HeForShe initiative, and maybe even about PwC’s support for this important effort to support global gender equality. PwC is a founding HeForShe “IMPACT 10x10x10” champion -- one of 10 corporations, 10 universities and 10 governments committed to identifying and testing approaches for addressing global gender inequality. I am very proud to work for a firm that is making such a significant commitment to such an important cause. That extraordinary level of commitment to issues of fairness is a large part of why I work here.

But I would add that, for me, HeForShe is about mobilizing everyday individuals to support global gender equality. I am an accountant.  My realizations have not been stunning, and my perspective is not unique. There was no transformative epiphany. I do not have celebrity star power and it’s unlikely I’ll be asked to address the United Nations. I am an ordinary man living an ordinary life, but I am part of an important effort.

And yet, a gesture I made in support of gender equality has received some attention. Back in 2014, one year removed from university, I was so inspired by PwC’s Aspire to Lead webcast with Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg that I made a donation to my alma mater, Oregon State University (OSU), to purchase copies of her book Lean In for Graduates and had them distributed to business students who were about to graduate. With the help of a matching gift from PwC, I was able to get the book into the hands of 124 students. A close friend and fellow OSU alumnus got caught up in the spirit of the initiative as well. With my friend’s help, and again with matching funds from PwC, this past spring we were able to hand out 200 more copies.


Part of my ordinary background is that I had amazing parents -- both healthcare professionals – who taught me and my three brothers to value fairness and to stand up for what’s right. I also had a best friend whose mom was an executive at a Fortune 500 company, and I absorbed some of her perspective just by being around her during my teens. In high school, I had fantastic teachers who were women. And when I got to college, the professor who had the biggest influence on me – who got me genuinely excited about a career in accounting – happened to be a woman.

But while I don’t have a “story,” I do have a genuine passion for global gender equity. And with that passion comes the responsibility to do something about it.

As a student at OSU’s College of Business, I had been a member of Dean Ilene Kleinsorge’s Student Leadership Circle. Energized and inspired by Aspire to Lead, I went back to Dean Kleinsorge to see how we might get Lean In for Graduates into the hands of as many students as possible. We’ve done that and will continue to do so in the hopes that in the near future every graduate from OSU will leave with the book. Dean Kleinsorge is also passionate about gender equality in the workplace, and from that passion she and the University have developed the Women’s Leadership Program, which includes a women's leadership curriculum for male and female students as well as a mentorship program that will pair successful female professionals in the Northwest, including women at PwC, with promising female students at OSU. Through her thoughtful efforts, I’ve been able to have a lasting impact on a place that I care about, on an issue that is so important to me.

I’ve been asked why I care so much about this -- my honest response is, how could I not care? My hope is that everyone will find his or her own way to address gender inequality. When we handed out the books, we included a note: “Be a driver for change.” It was important to me to send a message to young professionals that they don’t have to wait 10 years to get involved or push initiatives forward. They can do something now… and sometimes even the smallest actions can lead to something greater.

We should be aware of and avoid buying into any damaging gender stereotypes, such as negative perceptions of successful women. The first step is the awareness that comes from a webcast, a book, a blog post, or a conversation. And once you have that awareness, you need to do something about it—commit to HeForShe, donate to a charity that supports women and girls in any capacity, or simply stand up against global gender inequality and make your voice be heard. When we can all do that (and I do mean when, not if), gender inequality will be that “thing” people used to talk about.

Until then, I am an advocate for global gender equity. I am HeForShe.


Connor-Deeks-headshot Connor Deeks is an Assurance Senior Associate with the PwC US firm. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Accounting and Spanish from Oregon State University, he joined PwC in Portland, Oregon and is a licensed CPA in the state. Connor is very active in recruitment for PwC and began teaching internal courses this year. As a proud supporter of global gender equality, Connor promptly took the #HeforShe pledge.