A far higher share of women are appointed to leadership roles at professional firms than at corporates, with an average of 29% and a three year projection by firms of 36%, according to Forum research. “A diverse and inclusive organisation delivers competitive advantage. Our belief in the value it can deliver is so strong that it sits front and centre of our business. We have seen an improved representation of diverse talent among our leadership team, testament to the focus we place on creating an environment where everyone can achieve their potential. The UK needs to signal to the rest of the world that diversity and inclusion is a core business principle that is key to growth.” Steve Varley, EY

Our presenter believed that growing and sustaining women in leadership involves a mix of leadership style, top-down culture change and supportive working practices. ‘Command & Control’ – the default style at most corporates – is not generally favoured by women, who prefer the ‘Challenge & Support’ style found at professional firms. The latter resulted in high levels of employee engagement and productivity, in turn helping to explain the relative success of our sector.