For several years now, Mazars has championed gender diversity throughout its worldwide organisation, as not only is it a concern for modern societies, but it is also a proven condition for business and organisational performance.
Our top priority today is to focus on a better representation of women at leadership level. In this respect, Mazars fosters shared responsibility and has engaged in achieving global specific targets to increase the number of female partners and executives by 2025, making every country accountable for the achievement of their own national objectives.
Furthermore, we have been paying utmost attention to empowering our women talent pipeline and continuously evangelising a culture of inclusion – notably through coaching & networking, promoting with fairness and creating a great place to work for all staff. We also regularly conduct group-wide staff engagement surveys in which diversity and capturing women’s perspectives are always an essential focal point.
Listening to our women leaders on IWD
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated every year on 8 March and is aimed at recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. This represents a great opportunity for us to get the views and insights of our staff members on this special day, as well as on gender diversity at Mazars.
Furthermore, promoting a diverse organisation also means accepting a diversity of viewpoints. As a matter of fact, while gender equality remains a top priority at Mazars, we understand that perspectives on the topic can vary. So, in line with its commitment, and instead of relying on generalist assumptions carried by wider media and consultancies, Mazars conducted in February 2020 an international online survey targeted at its community of talented Women Leaders, in position or in the making.
In that respect, a questionnaire, entirely designed and administrated internally, was launched amongst 225 women (alumni of our Women Leadership programmes as well as members of country or group executive boards), in more than 50 countries.
Beyond understanding Mazars female staff’s standpoint on and expectations of IWD, the purpose of this survey was to understand their perceptions of the potential impact of gender on their career progression, while challenging stereotypes on the matter.
It is worth noticing that this study was particularly well-received internationally, with a 60% global participation rate and many in-depth qualitative comments – in just over 2 hours we achieved 50% of our participation rate – making this target population one of the most responsive in the organisation.
Our main takeaways
First, celebrating International Women’s Day in the workplace is an important consideration for 86% of our respondents, as it represents an opportunity to renew our commitment to gender equality (for 32%) while raising awareness on remaining inequalities in the workplace (28%).
Point of attention: for the 14% of our staff for which it should not be celebrated, the main risk is to imply the existence of differences between men and women (44%) that could reinforce gender stereotypes (33%). On this specific occasion, 3/4 of them expect the organisation to launch specific initiatives or events, that would mainly reflect the progress made on accelerating gender diversity, via inspirational talks and sharing success stories.
Second, while this year’s IWD theme is #EachForEqual, our respondents identified three key measures that would increase equality in the workplace: Promoting with fairness (while providing equal opportunities), enforcing flexibility at work and improving the number of women at the top.
However, our survey challenges some common trends outlined in other general surveys, among which the self-helplessness feeling usually associated with the glass ceiling.
More than 80% of our respondents aspire to reach executive positions at Mazars while almost all of them (96%) would recommend Mazars to young women who start their career and want to embrace a career in audit and consulting, mainly thanks to its career opportunities and values: “We are a firm of entrepreneurs constantly evolving (…) and it is great to be part of that journey”, “Mazars has believed in me and gave me opportunities to advance in my career. I am committed to do the same for others”, “(…) for the tremendous number of opportunities within the firm, with visible commitment towards balance”.
Globally, gender is not considered an obstacle to career progression at Mazars, whatever the respondents’ generation.