PwC's Chief People Officer on its new efforts to promote workforce diversity

25 July 2019 3 min. read

In an interview with the Economic Times (ET), PwC’s new Chief People Officer Padmaja Alaganandan has provided insight about the firm’s new direction when it comes to talent acquisition. The Big Four accounting and advisory firm is looking to diversify it workforce by hiring an increasing number of women. 

In tandem with global sentiment, India’s market and business environment have come under increased scrutiny in recent times with respect to the issue of gender equality. The country is rapidly expanding in its economic profile, although most have found that businesses in the country struggle with gender diversity.

Last year, global management consultancy McKinsey & Company found that India is among the countries that lag farthest behind when it comes to gender parity in the workplace. Only 25% of the labour force in the country is female, although there is not a complete lack of initiative in this regard.

A report from the Boston Consulting Group in 2017 revealed that despite a number of companies establishing gender equality initiatives, these efforts are futile and are having no tangible impact. PwC’s new Chief People Officer is looking to devise a policy that is more tangible.

PwC's Chief People Officer on its new efforts to promote workforce diversity

According to Alaganandan, PwC is looking to focus its hiring in technology more on female-only tech institutes, with hopes ensuring diversity as the country moves towards the new digital paradigm. The move is being taken in light of the fact that most big engineering colleges in India have predominantly male students, which leads to a predominantly male pool of hired graduates when placements come around.

“Many engineering colleges, unfortunately, have a high proportion of male students, and therefore, we’ve considered reputed women engineering institutes in our campus hiring plan,” said Alaganandan to the Economic Times. She also elaborated on other key areas that the firm is focusing on when it comes to recruitment, which entails diversity across other dimensions.

“We are focusing on skill sets in areas that are core to strategy - while high-quality engineering and management professionals will continue to be core to a lot of our talent acquisition, there is a growing need for talent from diverse professional backgrounds. We are increasingly bringing in psychologists, urban planners, environmentalists, social scientists, former defence personnel, journalists, former start-up founders or designers for our overall design thinking approach to problem-solving,” she explained to ET.

She sums the firm’s talent acquisition strategy as one that is motivated by the principle ‘fit for future, which, alongside a definite familiarity with the digital spheres, also entails a degree of flexibility, speed of learning and versatility.