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More women in consulting: An emerging trend in 2023

January 1, 2023
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7 minutes
A problem solver and change maker who has years of experience in implementing digital transformation, and technology improvements for various companies. One of her passions is to share her knowledge with others.
“How do you balance between your career and your personal life as a wife and a mother?”

That’s one of the most asked questions for successful women in any kind of business. No one asks a man the same question. Why? Because most people assume that women are the ones who always take care of the families. This means women will not have enough time to devote to their work, so they cannot complete all the assigned tasks excellently compared to men.

The truth is that women can do much better than they are expected to.

Despite the rising wave of gender equality, there are still disparities between men and women in the business world. And with no exception, female consultants are also struggling with long-lasting stereotypes in their career path. Luckily, more and more consulting firms set up inclusive, gender-balanced policies in the workplace so that women can work in a healthy environment.

Today, we would like to take you on a tour of the changing picture of workplaces where gendered-based boundaries are gradually eliminated and women's rights are protected. We definitely need more women in consulting firms, not just because they deserve better treatment. In this way, companies can also take advantage of underestimated excellent employees, which eventually results in additional profits.

Overview: How would it be if you are a woman in consulting world

The position of female consultants

Over the last 20 years, the number of female consultants has risen by 191%; however, it is still surpassed by men's headcount. I have to say to create a truly healthy and balanced office, there are quite a lot of things needed to improve.

In the United States, about 42% of working women reported that they have faced discrimination on their job because of their gender. A significant wage gap between men and women keeps existing. According to the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018, women of all races earned on average 18% less than men. So, a woman only receives 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races. Another popular bias is those female consultants are labeled to “softer” tasks. That’s why they are more likely to pass over important assignments.

In an interview at Bain & Company, a female consultant claimed that
she is assumed to be the secretary to do things like making copies of documents, cause she was the only woman in a team meeting. Consequently, women are 18% less likely to be promoted than their male coworkers. At McKinsey, 62% of manager positions belong to men, while women hold only 38%. 

Barriers that women in consulting are fighting against

Inaccurate gender prejudice and stereotypes

There is no connection between gender and one’s performance at work. So, it is totally a big mistake when evaluating the capacity of a woman as less than that of a man with the same experience.

There are certainly many biological differences between men and women. Some assumptions based on gender can be true. For example, women are prone to be better at reading nonverbal cues than men. Nevertheless, the point is not everyone will be exactly like that. Stop prejudging anyone if you don’t actually know them.

A lot of women tried their best just to get themself accepted by their colleagues and managers. Even though, those female consultants are still discriminated against by some clients who do not appreciate counsel from a woman.

Unfair hiring process & policies

Do you know that women consultants are underrated even before they are hired? In research, female applicants received lower ratings than male applicants on forms containing gendered evaluation labels. Even though there was no difference in the perceived quality of the proposals they submitted, women had fewer chances to have their applications awarded.

In interviews, some companies consistently refer to women as “girls” but never to men as “boys”. Several questions are typically prepared for women only, as the recruiters thought those kinds of problems just happen to a woman.

Because female consultants are often the minority group in a company, they are likely to be ignored by the human resources department. The rules and policies only focus on the needs and demands of the majority.

Low esteem & trust in women themselves

This is the saddest truth when gender discrimination occurs right inside the female community. They show negative judgments of other women, and even worse, apply that to themselves. Female employees tend to be more satisfied with their current positions and salaries. Both women and men tend to see men as authority figures.

Therefore, professional female consultants usually have their expertise challenged, their decisions or information verified by asking a male, and their decisions or commands are often set aside or sabotaged. Even with the same level of skills and experience, women are more likely to respect male partners.


  • When the feminist movement is growing rapidly, women in consulting continue to face unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace, such as lower salaries, fewer chances for promotions, and not receiving enough work recognition.
  • Having more women joining consulting firms, many people continue confronting unfair female-biased behaviors.
  • Research shows that gender-balanced consulting teams demonstrate better solutions with more diverse and creative approaches. Women's inclusion in consulting teams can also help find a balance between interpersonal support for personal growth and communication styles that give clients, both organizational and individual, more flexibility and effectiveness.

5 reasons why we need more women in consulting firms

1. Recruit more undervalued talents

The competitive capacity of a business is defined by its human resources. Instead of missing out on experienced consultants, just because you don’t think women cannot do well enough, let’s open your mindset to select the most talented candidates for your team. There is no doubt that your business performance will eventually be improved, and the company can have the potential to leverage its position in the market.

Female consultants can be the leaders in the industry by consistently driving impressive results, as you can learn about
the success stories of the top women in consulting in 2022.

2. Gain diverse ideas and perspectives in projects

In a research, it was found that nine out of ten clients would prefer more female employees in male-dominated professions, such as consultants. So, a consulting team with a greater proportion of women could have more chances to win a project. Those teams seem able to deliver better quality solutions due to the belief that women care about long-term partnerships. They are good at gaining trust, and faster in building relationships with others.

As great listeners, women can help clients clarify their own needs clearly, rather than imposing information or behaviors on them.

3. Strengthen the team connections

Because women are less likely to be competitive, they don’t have the need to win or be right in an argument. Female consultants are far more likely to listen to their team members in a way that allows them to hear both the meaning and the feeling of the message.

This feature is not only beneficial for clients but also enables them to offer more effective support to their coworkers. Women do not just tell, they ask more to understand the hidden needs of others. As a result, they gain natural abilities to reduce conflicts and misunderstandings in teamwork.

4. Make the working environment better for all genders 

In a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries, we found that gender diversity is relevant to more productive companies, (evaluated by greater market value and revenue), in the condition that gender diversity is “normatively” accepted.

5. Brings breakthrough development for your company 

According to Havard Bussiness Review, by inviting more women to join the C-suite, companies became both more change welcomers and less risk-seeking. In other words, transformation is embraced progressively (an increase of 10%) while solutions to reduce the risks are constantly associated with it (risk-taking decreased by 14%).

READ MORE. How Do We Get More Women into Consulting?

A changing world for women in consulting

Dedicated hiring

Many consulting firms have made it a point to hire men and women in equal numbers at entry-level and guide them into mid and senior level. Diversity-based hiring strategies have also been used in lateral hiring at the mid-and senior-management levels.

Get back-to-work programs

After having family, women worldwide typically take leave from the workforce or take sabbaticals. Today, many policies and programs help them return to the workforce by coaching and supporting them through alternative working models. Allowing them to simultaneously manage their professional and family obligations.

Support in the middle of a career: Empowering working women during their careers, when their personal commitments are increasing, encourages them to continue working. Policies for creches within the office or nearby have been developed, such as having flexible working hours for female employees.

Development of leadership pipelines

While many organizations have made significant progress toward gender parity at the entry-level, the number of women in leadership positions generally decreases as we move up the professional ladder. The creation of gender-diverse leadership pipelines in which candidates are identified and mentored by senior professionals is the current focus of consulting majors. Women's leadership development paths are now an important part of business strategy.

Addressing workplace unconscious bias

Gender stereotypes about leadership—men "take charge" and women "take care"—are frequently used unintentionally by senior management. This unconscious bias is being addressed at all levels of an organization, that upholds an objective assessment of demonstrated competence is being promoted. Due to sessions on individual biases influencing decisions and work modalities, many organizations are experiencing a cultural shift that places an increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Organizing, mentorship, sponsorship, and learning amazing open doors: Incentives include mentoring, sponsorship, networking, leadership, and availability. Today, businesses are investing in learning opportunities, reskilling, and upskilling their female employees. Providing leadership interaction and mentoring support, and propelling their careers.

Wrapping up: Women in Consultport

We at Consultport value talent and skills regardless of gender. We choose to collaborate with people whose beliefs align with ours because equity is one of our core values. Also, our clients hire and promote fairly, as well as have been vetted and offer attractive rates. As a female consultant, ConsultPort ensures you are surrounded by people who are willing to support you.

It is essential to take action to combat this dearth of women in consulting! Don't let it deter you. Be strong-willed. Additionally, assist other young women in consulting. Mentoring rather than competing, paying attention to female colleagues, and, most importantly, sponsoring and promoting women are all critical. Additionally, it would help if you never attempted to undermine a female coworker to lift yourself.