Study shows women more confident in their opportunity to advance, and gender diversity now a top ten priority for firms

FROM 30% CLUB McKinsey study at the 30% Club Leadership Forum reveals real progress as key aspects of gender balance in UK Professional Services partnerships start to shift

London, 26 November 2015 – Study results announced at the 2015 30% Club Leadership Forum today have revealed that since 2012 the promotion gap between men and women in law firms has reduced, with the likelihood of men being promoted compared to women falling from 10x to 3x. The expectation gap across both law and accountancy and consultancy firms, meanwhile, has closed, with men and women at parity on both confidence and ambition.

The results reflect research into women in UK partnership conducted by the 30% Club Professional Services Firms’ Initiative, with support from McKinsey & Company. Presented at the 30% Club Leadership Forum – this year entitled ‘The Needle Starts to Shift’ – the research is a follow-up to a 2012 study into gender balance at senior levels in Professional Services firms.

The 2012 results formed the basis for recommendations made to business leaders to translate the findings of the study into collective, workable best practice, and over the past three years these firms have sought to drive change, leveraging the shared learnings across the sector.

Speaking at today’s Forum Caroline Carr, a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and Chair of 30% Club Professional Services Firms’ Initiative said: “It is good to see that three years on from the first results we are seeing improvements in the rate of getting more women into UK partnerships in law firms and a consistent focus on gender balance as a business priority across the sector – although there is of course still some way to go, with the proportion of women partners in law firms at 20%, for example, and in accounting and consulting firms at 17%.”

Brenda Trenowden, Head of Financial Institutions, Europe and Head of Banks & DF Americas at ANZ, and Global Chair of the 30% Club, added: “The results from the 2015 study have shown us that the recommendations made in 2012 produced tangible results; both men and women believe that there has been real progress in gender equality in their firms over the last two to three years. The results also highlight that women are now more confident in their opportunity to advance and have greater ambition to become a partner, compared to 2012.”


The 2015 Leadership Forum, held at the Bloomberg offices on Finsbury Square, was focused upon three significant core topics: sharing the results from the follow up survey, highlighting impactful initiatives since 2013 and starting a conversation between managing partners and clients on structural issues potentially affecting gender diversity.

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