• Over 350 individuals from 47 MCA Member Firms, ranging from SMEs, medium sized firms and the Big 4, attended the MCA’s Women in Consulting launch event which was held virtually today
  • Key speakers included consultants from Deloitte, KPMG, Cadence Innova, EY, Mott MacDonald and PwC who all highlighted the brilliant careers and stories of women in the industry

Members participated in a thought-provoking panel discussion focussing on the challenges for women in consulting and how to promote better representation of women at a senior level

Over 350 MCA members attended the recent MCA Women in Consulting virtual launch event hosted by Maryam Moshiri, Chief News Presenter, BBC and organised by the Management Consultancies Association. The aim of this event was to provide focus and ignite conversation across the consultancy industry and within MCA Member firms on better representation of women in consulting and is the first in a series of events to help promote more females joining the sector and greater career progression.

Areas of discussion included barriers and opportunities for Women in Consulting, whether all firms should adopt targets and which best practices such as job share, sponsorship and role models work well. As well as highlighting the brilliant careers and stories in the industry to inspire more women to join and become leaders, the topic of the future of work and whether the impact of COVID-19 was a negative or positive to women was also covered. Topics for future for events include sharing best practice on how to manage the gap in careers and what policies firms should adopt.

The MCA Annual Report 2020 found that across the MCA membership, 49% of consultants are women and 51% are men, in comparison to the 2018 figures which stated that 40% of consultants were women and 57% were men (the remaining 3% classed themselves as ‘other’). This is a significant improvement and shows the industry is achieving real change at the entry level. However, there is still work to be done with senior representation – the MCA Annual report also found that only 21% of partner-level consultants are women however smaller firms are making more progress where a third of partners (33%) are female.

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), said:

“Recent events have reinforced the urgent need for change across all sectors of society and many firms have encouraged honest discussions about how much further there is to go in improving diversity in consulting and what steps need to be taken. Recent studies have highlighted the impact that COVID-19 has had on working women who are also often juggling other responsibilities and the MCA Women in Consulting network was established as a direct request from MCA Council Leaders and is more critical at this time than ever before.”

Professor Denise Bower, OBE, Mott MacDonald and panellist at the launch said:

“As an active supporter of the MCA and its vision, it is no coincidence that Mott MacDonald’s representation on the MCA Board, Infrastructure Working Group and indeed the MCA Women in Consulting Steering Group is an all-female cast. We recognise the value that women contribute to British business and whilst we all are making substantive strides in breaking down perceived and absolute barriers, there is a great deal more to do.”

The panel of inspirational women from a range of small, medium and large MCA member firms had an honest and stimulating discussion covering a range of topics from the impact of COVID on female leaders in the industry, returning to work as a working mother and juggling family life, creating a business around the flexibility that female employees may need, the overall barriers that women in consulting face and the importance of relationship building and mentoring to drive businesses forward to achieving an overall diverse and inclusive culture.

Key speaker, Anne-Marie Malley, UK Consulting Leader for Deloitte, highlighted the importance of this agenda. She said:

“Every industry should be reflective of the society it serves, but I’d argue that this is even more important within consulting as a result of the breadth of organisations, markets and communities that we serve. A growing number of businesses acknowledge that limiting diversity will also stifle the breadth of thought, creativity and innovation that a team delivers.
“We must improve the number of female leaders in our industry and continue to grow the number of women joining our firms. Collective action is needed to drive this change. The MCA’s Women in Consulting Network will provide a platform for us to work together as an industry to share our successes, learnings and challenges so we can overcome the obstacles to gender parity.”

Kate Bamford, Partner at EY and MCA panellist, added:

“Women supporting other women is how we make progress. This is a tremendous opportunity to connect, collaborate and share experiences with other female leaders.”

As the first in a series of events, this event concluded by outlining future activity on this agenda which starts with the next event on Wednesday 24th February 2021. The second Women in Consulting event will focus on sharing best practices amongst MCA membership on how to manage the gap in careers and what policies firms should adopt. There will be advice from an employer perspective as well as an employee view on how to approach a career break or a new work/life balance.


Media Contact: Caroline Florence ( 0207 645 7959 or 07973 400264)/ Jasmine Knight ( Tel: 07494 175736)

The Management Consultancies Association (MCA):

The MCA is the representative body for the UK’s leading management consulting firms. For over 60 years, the MCA has been the voice of the consulting industry, promoting the value of consulting to business, the public sector, media commentators and the general public. The MCA’s mission is to promote the value of management consultancy for the economy and society as a whole. The MCA’s member companies comprise over 50% of the UK consulting industry work with over 90 of the top FTSE 100 companies and almost all parts of the public sector. The UK consulting industry is amongst the best in the world and a vital part of the business landscape. Click to see the full list of current MCA members see link.

Compliance with the MCA’s tough entry criteria and adherence to the principles of Consulting Excellence means that MCA member companies are widely acknowledged to provide high quality services to their clients. Many of their achievements are recognised in the annual MCA Awards.