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Women Partners at PwC: It’s Not About Numbers

PwC UK Chairman Ian Powell would like to see more women around the office (obviously he hasn’t been to the San Francisco digs lately) but is taking this new stance slow. As in really slow.

As is, 14% of PwC’s partners are women. 14%! Trailblazers that they are, Powell has decided a target of something like 20% will be reasonable to start. Obviously something is driving the ladies away, however, as P-Dubs takes on over 400 new women a year of the 1000 new grads they hire. What’s wrong, girls, not the dream career you daydreamed it would be in college? “We take on over a thousand graduates a year and the number of women is in the high forties in terms of percentage,” Powell said.

Powell is not suggesting positive discrimination, in which women are treated like the fragile little things they are and given all sorts of breaks like months off to pop out kids, flexible work schedules to allow for time with their progeny and equal pay despite these many concessions.

While the UK considers quotas to force the profession to hire on (or is that keep) more women, Powell insists it is not just a numbers game. Funny, we thought 20% was a number? “There is a lot of debate about quotas but we don’t think that is the way forward. This is not just a numbers game.”

This begs the obvious question: if we’re pushing for “diversity” and making a huge deal out of this, aren’t we ignoring more important qualities such as skill, quality of work and talent by focusing on things like sex and race just to appear to be diverse? If a man, woman, and black transsexual all have the exact same educational background and skill, I’m totally OK with a company going for the most diverse option but we all know there is no such thing as equality. Interviewees come from all backgrounds and bring a variety of talents to the table – that is what firms need to be looking for, not high heels and African ancestors. Equality means being given equal opportunity to thrive and grow, not special favors just because one happens to lack a Y chromosome.

PricewaterhouseCoopers targets women [Telegraph]