Case Study: Ernst & Young LLP – Promoting Change: Developing & Advancing WomenJan 16, 2003
Ernst & Young’s initiative, Promoting Change: Developing & Advancing Women, is a broad-based effort that combines an active career development process of targeted supports for women with a structured, technologically-supported approach to creating a flexible work culture. This initiative promotes systemic change for women by working through the firm’s business units to foster local innovation and ownership.
Key elements of Ernst & Young’s effort include a women’s leadership conference attended by members of the firm’s governing body; innovative mentoring programs for women at both senior- and mid-career levels; and a comprehensive effort to support and promote the use of flexibility that has become embedded firmly in the organization’s culture. Firm leadership commits to the development of women through Balanced Scorecards. For top leadership, the “People Perspective” on the scorecard for the Americas Executive Board captures the importance of developing women. In addition, managing partners at the firm have scorecard targets for their business units that are reviewed on a quarterly basis by firm leadership.
Since Ernst & Young’s initiative commenced in 1996, the representation of women at the partner, principal, and director level has more than doubled from 7 percent to 15 percent, and the promotion rate for women at the partner level has more than doubled between 1996 and 2002—from 12 percent to 25 percent. Women now comprise 13 percent of all executive management positions (16 percent of the Americas Executive Board), up from zero in the mid-1990s.
Jim Turley, Chairman & CEO, Ernst & Young provides advice for employers.