Exclusive: Accenture Is the First Big Consulting Firm to Publish Race and Gender Stats

For the first time, Accenture on Monday released a detailed breakdown of the gender and ethnicity of its U.S. workforce.

While many tech companies have started publishing their employee diversity stats in the past year or so, the practice remains extremely rare in other industries — including consulting. Neither PwC, Deloitte, EY, nor Bain and Co. reveal their diversity numbers in this level of detail. What’s more, IBM, another major Accenture competitor, is one of the few tech giants that still refuses to release its stats.

“We already spend a lot of time and money and focus [on increasing diversity], and yet we’re not making the progress that we want to, so we feel like we need to be disruptive,” says Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, North America, on the company’s decision to publish the data.

The release reveals that women account for about 36% of the company’s total U.S. workforce.

Accenture, which is No. 98 on Fortune‘s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, is roughly half white and a third Asian. Black employees make up 7.4% of the company’s workforce, while Hispanic or Latino employees hold 6.3% of jobs.

Women lose some ground at the company’s upper level, accounting for 31% of executives.

The executive ranks are also notably less diverse, with black and Hispanic employees accounting for just 4.4% and 3.7% of top jobs, respectively.

In addition, Accenture revealed that it currently employs 1,450 people who self-identify as persons with disabilities and 1,000 veterans. (The company has pledged to hire an additional 5,000 vets or spouses of vets by 2020.)

Accenture has committed to releasing updated diversity numbers each year. Although it did not lay out specific goals for 2016, Sweet is clear that she expects the company to make gains over last year’s stats: “We think we can do more.”

Making the numbers public will hold the company accountable for showing improvement, she says. What’s more, Sweet hopes that this new level of transparency will allow Accenture to have more explicit, productive discussions about race and gender internally.

To help speed the pace of change, the company also announced that it is starting a new referral program that will reward employees who refer women, black, Hispanic, and veteran candidates who end up getting hired. This comes on the heels of a slate of new parent-friendly policies announced last year, including 16 paid weeks of maternity leave and an option for new parents to work locally for one year after the birth of their child.

“When I took my new role as chief executive of North America, I had this realization that with 48,000 and a $14 billion business I had a real opportunity to make change — and I feel a deep sense of responsibility,” Sweet says. “I personally feel I will have failed if I do not make progress toward making us the most inclusive and diverse workforce in the U.S.”

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