PwC is the first of the four big accountancy firms to ban all-male shortlists. KPMG has said it would not consider any recruitment agency shortlists that did not include women.
PwC revealed that it had a pay gap of 44% in April, meaning it had the widest pay gap of the Big Four financial services firms. The company said recruitment was one of the routes to narrowing the pay gap. It also plans to ban all-male interview panels and examine how “career-defining roles” are awarded.
After organisations with more than 100,000 employees released details of their gender pay gap last year, the data revealed that most companies favoured men. Many said that part of the reason behind the pay gap was that there were not enough women in senior positions.
Financial services was found to be one of the worst sectors in terms of equal gender pay. The gap stood at 91% for people earning £1 million or more annually, while the average gap for men and women in financial services is 22%.
Furthermore, last week the government released the top 10 worst explanations given to the Hampton-Alexander Review team by FTSE 350 chairs and chief executives for not appointing women to FTSE company boards.
Excuses included: “I don’t think women fit comfortably into the board environment”, “most women don’t want the hassle or pressure of sitting on a board” and “there aren’t that many women with the right credentials and depth of experience to sit on the board – the issues covered are extremely complex”.
The government aims that women should make up at least a third of board positions for the UK’s 350 biggest companies by 2020.
Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said that the ban on all-male shortlists is part of a wider drive for diversity in the firm.
"Diversity in our recruitment processes is something we've been focused on for some time and as part of this we are ensuring we have no all-male shortlists and more diverse interviewing panels," she said.
"We're also going one step further and setting ourselves a 50/50 shortlist target for all direct recruitment activity. This is part of our wider action plan to promote diversity and inclusion in all forms, including gender, ethnicity and social mobility."