Case Study – PWC

The goal of this program is to retain talented women in PwC and progress their career development.

Petra van Tol (InContext): “In an environment like PwC women encounter specific challenges. By giving them more insight into that world and coaching them to use their own strengths, they become more effective.

The program fits into a broader cultural change. Men are becoming more and more aware that a predominately masculine frame of reference is only one of the possible perspectives. Taking this into consideration, the program would certainly be relevant for men too.”

Experiment with different kinds of behavior

Twelve to fourteen middle and starter senior managers took part in the 5-day program. Petra: “Many women leave the organization in this stage in their careers. PwC wants to retain this talent because a diverse range of qualities leads to improved services to clients. The dilemma is often: do I have to adjust or can I stay true to myself? When you understand the masculine rules of the game, you can make a conscious choice per situation.”

“This is why we get our participants to take part in role-play with actors to experiment with different kinds of behavior. They hold up a mirror for you by directly confronting you with the consequences of your behavior.” Jitske van Hattem (PwC): “There were big differences between the participants and the obstacles they experienced. Also every team handles diversity in a different way. Nevertheless, It was an extremely useful learning experience for everyone.”

Powerful through insight

It’s all about acting more consciously. Jitske: ‘For example, we have practiced being visible without pretending to be different than you are. By using certain moments to show what you are doing, you become more effective in a more masculine environment, where visibility is valued.’

Petra: ‘In addition to awareness of the effect of behaviour, the program gives women more insight into their own strengths and qualities. People with a feminine character are often sensitive to dominant types. If you know where your strength lies, you are less overwhelmed and you get more support from those people.’


More aware and effective

Petra sees that the programme does a lot with women: ‘The women who followed the programme now make more conscious choices. That is because they are more explicitly thinking about their goal, strategy and who can help them with that. Thanks to the programme, their careers are sometimes accelerated; that is wonderful to see.

Jitske: ‘The programme makes you aware of the effect of your behaviour on others. Of course, the result is different for each participant. I myself noticed that a more effective way of working is often very close to me, but that I don’t do it automatically. It helps when you are confronted with this.

Jitske van Hattem, Senior Tax manager PwC
Petra van Tol, Managing consultant InContext

Source special edition of PwC deConnection on valuing differences
Author Manon van der Zwaal


“It was an extremely useful learning experience for everyone.”

Jitske van Hattem – Senior Tax manager PwC