Management consulting, like financial services, has struggled to attract and retain women. Some of the traditional requirements of the job – long, inflexible hours and lots of travel – have not helped. But there is no debate in the industry about the need to have a better gender balance at every level. All the management consulting leaders I know believe that having more women is the right thing to do and will improve their firms.
The industry has been working hard to make changes. Consulting firms are experimenting with new approaches to recruiting, reviews, and development. They have introduced mentoring programs, sponsorship, flexible work, and extended parental leave, among other things. These initiatives are making a difference, but the changes have not been big enough or fast enough.