PwC is taking action for gender equality


On 8 March, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. The latest WEF report states it will need 170 years to close the gender gap globally. This is about 90 years more than based on last year’s data. We seem to revert back rather than to progress.

Gender equality is not a women's issue. It needs all of us to work together to progress towards equality. Learn more about our senior partners’ views:



Vision and strategy

To achieve our goal, we need a vision and strategy for PwC to take the right action towards gender balance. Our TSP, Urs Honegger, is highly committed to moving the needle:


Urs Honegger


“I believe in gender equality and therefore commit to increase our female pipeline to 20% female partners until 2020 by leading an open discussion about our culture and values, delegate co-ownership for filling the pipeline with eligible female talents to my fellow management board colleagues and set processes in place to foster equal promotion opportunities for women.”

Urs Honegger, CEO



Society perspective

Gender equality is not just a hot topic at PwC Switzerland. Most companies face the same gender structures. What can we do? Here is what Clive Bellingham, Partner ADV, says:


Clive Bellingham, Partner ADV
“PwC and other leading employers in the Swiss market should lobby political and educational bodies for change. The establishment needs to adapt to the needs of employers and employees alike.”

Clive Bellingham, Partner ADV


Reimagining careers

Based on current demographic changes, Switzerland will soon be faced with a labour shortage. Here is what Hanspeter Gerber, Partner ASR, thinks about this:


Hanspeter Gerber, Partner ASR
“A career to partnership is not what all PwC employees envision. Many women (and men) seek a different life goal than just the ultimate corporate career, which is why we lose many talented female colleagues – most often at manager level. If we can imagine vertical instead of horizontal career paths (i.e. where you become a subject matter expert in a certain field and stay at manager or director level), we will be able to attract and retain more talent in the future.”

Hanspeter Gerber, Partner ASR



A client imperative

Our clients increasingly expect or even demand that we deploy diverse teams. As a firm, we must therefore respond to this reality in order to secure our long-term growth. Dieter Wirth, Partner TLS, points out:


Dieter Wirth, Partner TLS


“It is essential to be attractive for women because we need to access 100% of the talent pool and we need to understand 100% of our clients.”

Dieter Wirth, Partner TLS



Benefits for our outcomes

Multiple studies have demonstrated that diversity allows teams to perform better and be more innovative. Alexander Schultz-Wirth, Partner ADV, shares this view:


Alexander Schultz-Wirth, Partner ADV


“Diverse teams look at a problem from different perspectives and come up with a more holistic solution.”

Alexander Schultz-Wirth, Partner ADV



Mutual enrichment

Partnering men and women to achieve visible results in gender equality is not only a necessity, but also a form of mutual enrichment for both genders. Peter Lüssi, Partner ASR, discusses his experience as a mentor in the Women Mentoring Programme:


Peter Lüssi, Partner ASR


“One key thing I learnt from the mentoring was that I was not only able to support a promising young talent in her career, but also gain a lot of insight about myself and the future generation per se.”

Peter Lüssi, Partner ASR


The blind spot of gender stereotypes

Stereotypes are beliefs we hold about people because they are from a particular group, or because we have mentally placed them in a certain category – e.g. “all men/women are like that…” What can you do about this? Ask yourself before you evaluate somebody: “If that person were of the opposite gender/a different culture/older or younger, would I think the same?” Rolf Birrer, Partner ASR, says:


Rolf Birrer, Partner ASR


“Speaking of stereotypes, I noticed that there are certain situations where women ask ‘Can I do it?’ whereas men say ‘I can do it!’ This has an impact on how other people perceive you and ultimately how they evaluate you.”

Rolf Birrer, Partner ASR



Work-life balance

More than 80% of PwC’s global workforce are millennials, and our extensive millennial research indicates that work-life balance is important to nearly all millennial talent (97%), irrespective of their gender or family status. Jürg Niederbacher, Partner TLS, notes: 


Jürg Niederbacher, Partner TLS
“If you are doing an excellent job, you will be equally valued, no matter if you work full-time, part-time or remotely from home. This is true for both male and female colleagues and we as a firm have to be open to adapt to the changing demands of our staff. I know from own experience that this is not always easy but you realise it is worth doing it when you experience the result.”

Jürg Niederbacher, Partner TLS


Flexible working demands team coordination

Working flexibly also impacts how teams work together. Bruno Rossi, Partner ASR, says: 

Bruno Rossi, Partner ASR


“When working remotely or part-time, all team members need to communicate transparently about their availability and support each other. I personally restructured my day around my family needs and worked again later in the evening, when my kids where in bed.”

Bruno Rossi, Partner ASR


What is PwC doing to foster gender equality?

Measuring – Inclusion Index

The PwC Global Inclusion Index is a composite index comprised of two core buckets – a gender diversity score and an inclusion score. Our gender diversity score focuses on pipeline structure, pipeline management, and any differences in the perceptions of women and men at PwC.

Partner Pipeline Discussion

The Partner Pipeline Discussion is a firm-wide talent council to oversee the partner pipeline process having a laser focus on female succession planning. We are using predictive workforce analytics to identify what the pipeline needed to look like to achieve our female partner target.

Leave of absence rule

Our global leave of absence rule is intended to offer pragmatic solutions for employees with long absences (maternity, unpaid leaves linked to maternity/paternity, illness/accident and military service) and to help retain our top-performing staff who are returning to work from extended leaves (e.g. maternity, military service).

PwC Switzerland’s participation in Swiss and global initiatives on gender equality


Contact us

Corina Merz
HC People & Organisational Development | Inclusion & Diversity
Tel: +41 58 792 11 69

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