“Our goal eventually is to achieve a 50-50 gender split among partners at the firm. It will take time, but we’re moving in that direction.” 

Frédéric Zeitoun, head of people and culture, Grant Thornton France

Diversity and inclusion initiatives at Grant Thornton France have gathered pace over the last year, with progress being made on the back of Grant Thornton International Ltd’s Women in Business campaign, and the launch of the Blueprint for Action.

Fresh thinking and long-term objectives are combining at Grant Thornton France to create a workforce that’s increasingly diverse from a gender perspective. A growing number of women at the firm are being promoted to senior roles, and levels of gender parity across the business are improving.

New inclusion programmes make their mark

The last 12 months has seen Grant Thornton France launch what it calls its ‘Women Experience’ – a two-pronged approach for improving the firm’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) position. It comprises Women in Leadership (also known as Springboard for Women), an internal training and mentoring programme for female executives, and Women in Business, an external programme aimed at helping senior women at Grant Thornton France grow their business network.

The initiative has had a measurable impact. The firm hosts four events per year around its Women Experience programmes, with the total number of attendees recently hitting 400. Since its launch in 2017, the Women in Leadership programme has mentored 60 Grant Thornton France staff.

Creating value for clients through diversity

Frédéric Zeitoun, head of people and culture at Grant Thornton France, says that bolstering the firm’s D&I initiatives over the last year has encouraged attitudes at the firm to shift, with the business benefits of promoting and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce now apparent to everyone in the business. “Diversity creates value,” he says. “We are confronting complex issues with our clients that often require different perspectives to resolve, so having diversity in the team is essential for helping clients manage complexity.”

Setting long-term gender balance goals

Raising awareness around the tangible business benefits of D&I has improved benchmarking at the firm. Grant Thornton France now regularly tracks key indicators such as gender pay gaps among its teams, differences in wage increases and the distribution of promotions between male and female staff, and the number of women returning from parental leave. By benchmarking this data year-on-year, the firm hopes to level the playing field completely for women at Grant Thornton France, although this remains a long-term objective.

The firm’s challenge, says Frédéric, is to not lose sight of its D&I goals, and to keep building on the progress and momentum new initiatives such as the Women Experience create.

Nathalie Margraitte, Partner, Grant Thornton France 

As a partner and sponsor of Grant Thornton France’s Women in Leadership programme, Nathalie Margraitte has not just benefitted from the firm’s D&I progress, she’s played an integral part in establishing it.

Since joining Grant Thornton France’s transaction advisory practice in 1999, Nathalie’s story encompasses the progress made by the firm to improve its gender diversity position. Five years ago, Nathalie was promoted, first to senior partner then to the board. She set about implementing her plans to improve diversity and the experience of women working across the business.

She is proud of the fact that 60% of junior level staff who currently start at Grant Thornton France are female. But the fact that just 25% of partners are women underlines that the business has a long way to go before it achieves gender parity.

“Our main challenge from a diversity standpoint is to ensure more women are promoted to senior roles,” explains Nathalie. “As a business, we’re more aware now of some unconscious bias in the hiring process and are taking steps to level the playing field”.

“As a business we believe that diversity and inclusion creates a positive culture, adds energy and improves attitudes. These are enablers for retaining the best talent – and if we can keep the best people, we will have the best clients.” 

Frédéric Zeitoun, head of people and culture, Grant Thornton France

See diversity and inclusion initiatives in action and download our 2020 Women in Business report.