Anne Loveridge is a senior partner in the Financial Services Assurance practice in Sydney, providing assurance services to major financial services institutions.
For the last four years Ms Loveridge has led the Financial Service Assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, comprising approximately 400 staff and 40 Partners in Sydney and Melbourne. In this role she was responsible for ensuring the group achieves client service objectives, through strong relationships and quality delivery, as well as the financial and operational performance of the group.
Ms Loveridge also has played a lead role in the implementation of the PwC High Performance Culture as well as other work / life balance / culture initiatives and she currently leads the Australian firm’s year long Leadership development programme aimed at shaping high potential PwC Managers. Anne Loveridge has also recently sponsored the inaugural PwC Women’s Leadership Forum for Australian Partners & Directors, with the theme Connect, Inspire and Empower.
Ms Loveridge is a member of PwC’s Global Gender Advisory Council, an action and results oriented advisory group who provide advice and assistance to the global leadership team on the issue of women at PwC, and has been part of the Australian firm’s Extended Leadership Team.
Anne Loveridge joined the UK firm in 1984 straight from university with a French and economics degree. After having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1987, she commenced what was initially a two year secondment to Sydney, Australia, in the Financial Services audit practice and has subsequently remained with the Australian Firm.
Interview with Anne Loveridge
What does diversity mean to PwC?
Achieving Diversity and Equal Opportunity at PricewaterhouseCoopers is a strategic imperative. With the war for talent, impact of globalisation, changing demographics and the increasing importance of technology and innovation in business, our ability to attract and retain a diverse and agile workforce is essential for us to stay ahead of our competitors and be distinctive in the market.
To assist us with this, approximately five years ago, the Australian Firm embarked on a journey of culture change called the PwC Experience. The PwC Experience framework consists of an integrated suite of behaviours, policies, processes, and strategies which reflect flexibility, transparency, rights and obligations in respect of a diverse and inclusive workforce. The ideas, tools and resources to help staff drive the PwC Experience are detailed on a dedicated section of the Firm’s intranet site. The Australian firm’s work in this area has culminated in the creation of core client and team behaviours which are now the framework of the culture change programme the Firm is adopting globally.
Launched in 2004 as a part of the PwC Experience, our eQuilibrium programme is a significant initiative in the Equal Opportunity arena at PwC.
eQuilibrium seeks to build talent and diversity by creating an environment which understands and supports the changing life needs of our people as they progress in their career with PwC. Improved outcomes for women are a fundamental driver of our approach. Our statistics reveal a very telling story: whilst we recruit 50:50 males/females we lose a disproportionate number of women at the senior levels. On a positive note, our retention of females is improving.
As a part of eQuilibrium, we have invested time in speaking one on one and in groups to our women across the Firm and all levels of the organisation to understand how we can best support our women to stay with the Firm. One of the clear themes which came out for those at manager, director and partner level was around not having a visible peer support network of women. Our response to this is described below.
At a global level, our Global CEO Sam DiPiazza created the Gender Advisory Council in 2006. The Gender Advisory Council is an action- and results-oriented advisory group who provide advice and assistance to the PwC Global CEO on the issue of women at PwC. The Council’s most recent report focuses on helping PwC leadership recognise and address issues associated with advancing women in leadership roles at PwC. This report includes interviews with 79 of our female leaders across several territories and provides insight into the conditions that support successful advancement. Sam DiPiazza comments that:
"Achieving true gender diversity is more than just ‘the right thing to do’; it is a business issue that affects the bottom line. Our livelihood is dependent upon a diverse set of talented people and we know that six people with different ideas are more valuable than sixty people who all think the same."
There are a range of Equal Employment initiatives as well as Gender Diversity programmes in place in the Firm. Details of these are profiled in question 5.
Sam DiPiazza has expressed part of what motivates us – the determination to be responsible leaders. He says:
“PwC is not just a business but an influential member of global society. We are acutely aware that this membership brings its own responsibilities. As business leaders, we have a shared concern that we need to define our own role in society and recognise that leadership encompasses more than business skills – it requires broader social and emotional awareness.”
At a local level, we recognise that all our staff (regardless of race, age or gender) are keen to make a contribution to the community. In Australia, we facilitate this through the PwC Foundation Over the past five years, the PwC Foundation has developed sustainable and impactful partnerships with our charity partners. These partnerships have developed from the earlier days of charitable donations and individual actions, to deeper engagement of our staff and working together with our partners.
What challenges does diversity and equality represent within the work environment of PwC?
It is a priority of the Firm to create a flexible workforce which enables our staff and the Firm to come to a mutual agreement about the way our people work while balancing work with priorities outside of work.
To provide more staff with more flexible options (so that they don’t consider resignation as a viable solution), we believe the Firm must do more to support the personal choices of its people to enable them to function more effectively outside the Firm, by creating flexible work solutions. We run ‘flexibility awareness sessions’ to educate our Partners and Managers on different types of flexible work arrangements and how to make these work in their teams.
We continually strive to find a balance between setting policies and frameworks around flexible work arrangements and also allowing our staff to suggest their own solution which is viable for both them and their teams.
We are also aware of the need to provide role models for our staff so our people can read about other people’s experiences and stories. Through the eQuilibrium microsite, we provide a list of PwC people who are working flexibly while successfully forging a career with the Firm. Our role models represent a range of staff and situations and are vital to making eQuilibrium ‘real’ to our people.
To address the issue of disparity of gender at the higher career levels, the Firm has identified that it needs to build leadership role models to demonstrate the behaviours we believe are crucial to attract women to the senior levels within PwC. In addition it is important to continue to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for women at PwC. We are working to do this through our women’s initiatives detailed in question 5. These initiatives help the Firm address the challenges of isolation or lack of peer support network women may experience in their career with the Firm.
How many women directors are on the boards of PwC and on other levels of PwC in comparison to men?
In Australia, the gradual shift in gender representation for women noted over the last couple of years has continued as the Firm continues to grow.
· As of 1 July 2008, 25% of our Firm Executive will be female
· As of 1 July 2008, 16% of our Leadership Council will be female
· As of 1 July 2008, 16% of our Partner population will be female
· As of 1 July 2008, the board is made up of 11 partners, the CEO plus 10 elected partners. Of the 10 elected partners from 1 July 08, there are 3 women which is 30% of the elected positions.
· In regards to our percentage females at each grade, currently:
- o 16% of our partners are female
- o 33% of our directors are female
- o 48% of our senior managers are female
- o The percentage of females at our manager, senior accountant and accountant levels are approximately 50:50
At a global level, 13% of the Partnership across our 148 territories is female and four of our countries are led by women - in Bahrain, Turkey, Fiji and the Philippines. The female leaders of the Turkish and Bahrain firms are profiled in the Role Models section of www.pwc.com/women . Carrie Yu, a Partner in PwC China/Hong Kong, sits on the Firm’s Global Board and Moira Elms, Chair of the Gender Advisory Council, will join the Global Network Executive team with responsibility for People & Culture, Brand & Communications, as of 1 July 2008.
How did your organisation achieve these numbers for women?
PwC has commitment from the Australian CEO and leadership team. The answers provided to the following questions provide further information.
Could you describe some of the Diversity & Equality programmes that are run at PwC which are aimed at creating a culture of inclusion?
PwC Australia has a comprehensive Equal Opportunities Policy, Harassment Policy, Employee Assistance Programme, and nominated Contact People programme.
These policies and programmes operate within the PwC Experience and Code of Conduct framework and are underpinned by the following training, education and awareness initiatives.
Staff Training and Awareness
Upon commencement with the Firm, all staff receive training through the employee induction / orientation process to ensure they are aware of these policies, understand their responsibilities and obligations to others in the workplace, and know how to obtain help or guidance, if needed.
Our e-learning module for all staff on diversity and equality continues to be very well received and has encouraged lots of open dialogue around the opportunities and challenges for us as a rich and diverse organisation.
Partner Training and Awareness
The Firm’s leadership regularly reminds our people of the importance of maintaining high standards of business conduct, including how we work together. In turn, Partners are themselves held accountable for upholding the Firm’s equality opportunity and diversity philosophies and are supported in this by regular awareness training. From November 2007 the Firm has partnered with an external law firm to deliver equality and diversity workshops in a continuation of the Firm’s commitment to prohibiting harassment and discrimination in the workplace. The training objectives are to ensure that all Partners understand and maintain a workplace that provides the best environment for our people, teams and clients on an ongoing basis. The roll out is due to be completed by July 2008.
We will deliver the same messages in 2008 and early 2009 to our Manager and Director population.
As mentioned in question 1, Gender Diversity is a key focus area of the firm and as a part of the PwC Experience and the eQuilibrium programme, we have invested time in speaking one on one and in groups to our women across the firm and all levels of the organisation to understand how we can best support our women to stay with the firm. One of the clear themes which came out for those at manager, director and Partner level was around not having a visible peer support network of women.
Therefore our approach has been to facilitate the creation of these networks across all business units and to use those opportunities to share stories and provide skill building. For example, we have been running mentoring circles for women, which bring groups of peers together with an external facilitator to support them to leverage off their strengths (signature strengths) to find pathways to success, promotion and satisfaction in their leadership careers at PwC.
More recently we had an inaugural PwC Australia Women’s Leadership Forum which connected female partners and directors from different states, introduced Appreciative Inquiry as a tool to use in business and a development context - shared their best leadership experiences, career high points and developed an awareness of role modelling. The theme of the Forum was ‘Connect, Inspire and Empower’.
We also introduced My Mentor at the Forum, a self study programme enabling women to build resilience and positive impact as they progress in their careers.
Our talent mapping and succession planning model will assist the firm in identifying and progressing our female talent in line with Equal Employment Opportunity.
How are your staff made aware of the effect their actions and behaviours could have on others?
In addition to the information detailed in question 5, our policies are published on our Intranet site which is available to all staff. In addition, significant policy changes and new initiatives are communicated via the Firm’s intranet communications forum and also the business unit specific intranet sites.
How does PwC’s Women’s Network and Parents’ Network operate? What are its objectives and achievements?
In addition to our national women’s initiatives (as described in question 5), we have a number of women’s networks that exist within our business - ie Symmetry (Advisory), Women in Tax (Tax) and Female Partners lunches (Assurance). These are driven by the teams within each business and provide an opportunity for our women to network and share experience of their career journeys in their progression to senior levels.
The firm also runs Connections lunches (held nationally) – these are quarterly lunches for new parents and intending parents, giving them an opportunity to network and share experience about juggling work and family. There is generally a guest speaker - either a staff member sharing their experiences or an external facilitator discussing topics related to parenthood or early childhood
What type of flexibility and child care schemes does PwC Australia have for its staff?
We have a range of flexible work options and child care assistance for our staff. These include:
· 14 weeks paid parental leave for primary care-givers
· Families at work programme - A free child, elder and dependant care referral service. Available 24 hours a day
· Care 4 Kids - A comprehensive online child care directory — easy access to thousands of reputable child care centres, carers and agencies through our microsite - Useful tools, information and resources such as a nanny interview guide, child-care checklists and relevant articles
· Onsite carers facilities for breastfeeding mothers
· Flexible work arrangements (eg. Work from home, part-time work)
· Annual family days where our staff and their children have the opportunity to participate in a family event
· Purchased Additional Annual Leave – our staff can buy up to 4 weeks additional annual leave to travel or spend time with their families
· Parents’ gift – 12 month subscription to ‘Practical Parenting’ magazine and a gift for new parents
What are some other ways in which PwC Australia attracts and retains women in its organisation?
The purpose of eQuilibrium is to engage, attract and retain specific demographic groups, including women. In a competitive talent market, we have thoroughly researched other organisations to ensure eQuilibrium offers cutting edge initiatives to our people.
The programme includes:
· A dedicated eQuilibrium intranet site including online resources to assist our people to make a business case for working flexibly
· Flexible work arrangements in place including part-time work, working from home, job share
· Child Care/Elder Care Referral Service
· PwC parents gift - staff receive a parents' pack to celebrate a new family member
· On-Site carers facilities
· Parental Leave – all eligible staff are entitled to 14 weeks of paid parental leave (including paternity leave for fathers who are not the primary care-giver)
· Purchasable annual leave – up to four weeks of additional leave by foregoing pro-rata remuneration over a twelve month period
· Core business hours – encourage staff to hold meetings in core business hours
· ‘eQuilibrium Leave’ – up to six months leave for Partners with 7-15 years of service in the partnership
· Career transition for retiring Partners
· Partner flexibility awareness training & toolkit
· Regular seminars on topics such as work life balance and positive parenting
· eQuilibrium Register – connects PwC people with others who have like minded personal aspirations
· Annual family events – two family events held in each location every year
· Parent networking – “Connections" forums for new parents and intending parents
· Women’s leadership forums, mentoring circles and networking opportunities
· A network of ‘Mavens’ across the Firm who are available to support colleagues in reaching flexible working arrangements.
· Role models profiled on the microsite – PwC people who have successfully forged a career at PwC whilst working flexibly.
· Mentoring – comprehensive resources and guiding principles are provided on the microsite
· Executive coaching for leadership
· Employee Assistance Programme
· Subsidised gym membership, onsite yoga and Pilates, flu vaccinations, social club
· Unpaid and paid ‘special leave’ for personal matters including bereavement, sport, conferring of degree, religious/cultural holidays, study leave
In the context of your organisation’s focus upon financial results and their direct relationship with human capital performance, what are some people management strategies that PwC Australia uses to value women and a diverse workforce?
The Firm is able to link the PwC Experience and eQuilibrium programme to an increase in revenue, loyalty and retention of clients, decrease in turnover (particularly of females), graduate acceptance rates, client wins and high internal engagement scores. Satisfied teams and satisfied clients are a key driver of the PwC Experience. We are able to measure this through our internal quarterly “pulse” surveys (measure engagement) and external client surveys.