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The percentage of women in leadership has increased in the last few decades, but there are still gender pay gaps in many professional fields, including consulting, and fewer women in leadership roles.
This trend persists, despite wide-spread acknowledgement that women in top corporate positions increase profitability on average.
For aspiring consultants, it’s imperative to join a firm with a work culture that supports women. That means not just offering women the same salary as their peers, but also providing mentorship, upward mobility, and leadership training.
Other policies, like flexible working from home options and limited overtime also appeal to candidates of all genders and boosts the retention rate among female staff.
By examining employee reviews, interviewing staff, and evaluating company policies, we’ve assembled some of the top-performing consulting firms with offices in the U.S. that have gender-inclusive policies.
5 Consulting Firms That Support Women Leaders
1. Acquis Consulting Group
Founded in 1998, Acquis Consulting Group is charged with a dynamic and creative work culture. The firm claims to measure success according to their service delivery and employee satisfaction, and they consistently advance their core value “People First.”
“Acquis is diverse, friendly, and ambitious,” says one anonymous partner in a review. According to the staff, the firm believes in recognizing their employees as a source of unique expertise. They nurture and learn from all their team members, regardless of the individual’s station, and understand the importance of attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.
Acquis has several women in various leadership positions who’ve played integral roles in the firm, including Chief Operating Officer Joanna Sears. One anonymous manager gave the firm a 5-star review and says, “Acquis has a culture of inclusion, teamwork, caring, collaboration, and respect for one another. It has an environment where I always feel supported as a woman.”
Ivy Exec surveyed current employees if they felt Acquis Consulting Group cares about their “well-being, not only as a professional but as a person.” Respondents scored the agency a 4.7 out of 5 in this category, and 95% of participants also said they believe the company has strong leadership.
2. Keystone Strategy
is a pioneering economics and technology consulting agency that was founded in 2003. The firm’s expertise includes digital transformation, product development, business strategy, and antitrust.
Keystone has been able to achieve great strides in creating an inclusive environment for women by offering family and adoptive leave, family growth support, learning opportunities, and merit-based recognition. There are also women leaders at the principal, partner, and manager levels, including their new COO, Gabrielle Toledano. Employees rated the organization 5 out of 5 for female representation in leadership.
“Keystone cares about us, both in our development and that we enjoy our work. The company feels like a startup, but it has the impact and access of a large firm,” says a current employee.
In a recent webinar with Ivy Exec, Jeff Marowits, Partner at Keystone Strategy, discussed the firm’s “people-powered initiatives,” which means employees at every level can manage projects designed to improve the agency and their work environment. This speaks to the organization’s ongoing efforts to create a diverse and inclusive space that supports long-term career growth and encourages individuals to pursue entrepreneurial and leadership opportunities.
3. Delta Partners
Delta Partners has experienced phenomenal growth since its launch in 2006 and is now a leader in the Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) global industry. The firm’s values are deeply rooted in evolving as a team and providing a clear roadmap for success. They help employees advance by providing company- and sector-specific new entrant training, 2-hour weekly training sessions, and annual off-site training for 3-4 days at every level.
About once every two months, there’s also a lunch event for the women who work at Delta Partners, from junior-level consultants to partners. A panel meets once a quarter to discuss different issues affecting women, such as leadership styles and communication strategies. Anna Arlorio, an Associate Partner at Delta Partners, says, “As telecom and consulting industries are both male-dominated, we’re trying to enhance the role of women in the company to have more gender diversity. I support Delta Partners’s efforts to ensure more women get to leadership roles.”
Anna Arlorio is one of the women who has benefited from the firm’s leadership training. She started with the company in 2009 as an Analyst, and since then has traveled to over 30 different countries, including Saudi Arabia, where she was the first woman representative of the organization. Today she typically works with C-level clients and says the organization has helped expose her to new cultures and and invests in her professional growth.
According to its staff, Delta Partners welcomes professionals from all genders, races, abilities, and religions, and they promote individuals based on merit—not the amount of work they do. All of these initiatives help explain why 100% of the employees who reviewed the organization with Ivy Exec said they would recommend the company to a friend.
4. ClearView Healthcare Partners
In 2007, ClearView HealthCare Partners was founded to partner business analytics with innovative life sciences and technology. Their WomenLEAD (Leadership, Empowerment, And Diversity) program helps foster collaboration and inclusivity by hosting company-wide events, training, and panels.
ClearView also has a Family Sustainability Forum, which facilitates discussions about work-life balance and helps create a community for working parents of all genders.
An anonymous Senior Associate says, “I firmly believe ClearView is the best life sciences consulting firm in the industry, both in terms of our project work for clients as well as the foundation the firm provides for professional development…I think ClearView has launched me on a great learning trajectory that I believe will last me the rest of my career.”
5. Boston Consulting Group
Since 1963, Boston Consulting Group has made a name for itself by challenging the status quo. Diversity and inclusion is one of many progressive fronts at BCG. Harnessing their own data and survey research, the agency applies strategies from management consulting toward making a better working environment for everyone.
Most recently, BCG honed in on communication styles and mentorship opportunities and their impact job satisfaction. Leveraging these insights, BCG developed an Apprenticeship-in-Action (AiA) program across North America. The results are outstanding: female promotion rates rose by 22% in senior management positions; job satisfaction rose by 20%; and retention rates reached gender parity across all cohorts. Rocío Lorenzo, a Partner at BCG, expands on the impact of these initiatives in a TED talk.
According to one anonymous review from a Senior Consultant, “BCG thrives on the happiness of their employees. You won’t find another professional services firm – or any firm this size – that treats employees as well as BCG does. The level of intellectual rigor is challenging and rewarding. The firm’s leadership is generous in “sharing the spoils” and caring about employees’ development.”
Women in leadership are changing the narrative in consulting, and these firms are at the forefront of the wave. Want to learn more about drafting a resume, preparing for an interview, or negotiating a salary offer? Ivy Exec can help.
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