Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report

For Our People

For Our People

Building a diverse team and an inclusive organization in which belonging, support, and trust fuel all of us every day

At Bain, we have always felt a deep pride in the external recognition we receive for our culture. Yet we know we have further to go. This report, which we will update annually, is the first time that we have publicly shared data about diversity at Bain, a significant milestone in our journey and an important step in expanding trust and accountability.

Diversity has different meaning across the 38 countries where we have offices and the needs, concerns, and the ways that different groups identify vary widely. Here, we present the data we have at a global level—which includes breakdowns by gender, sexual orientation, and veterans—and we provide a deeper dive into our data and our current efforts in the US. As a global firm, we will continue to broaden this report each year.

Globally, we have made significant progress toward reaching gender parity, particularly among our leadership team—a third of our global leadership team and almost 40% of our US leadership team identify as women. We are also proud of the increasing number of employees who feel safe to identify openly as LGBTQ. For example, BGLAD, our LGBTQ affinity group, now nearly 500 strong, has grown 154% overall over the past five years and 175% outside of North America within the same time frame.

The new Bainies we are welcoming across the globe are more diverse than ever before. In the US, for example, almost 50% of new hires identify as Black, Latinx, Asian, or multiracial, and 46% identify as women. We aspire to sustain this level of hiring diversity and to continue to reflect the evolving population trends of our communities. And we are committed to making further progress for diverse representation within our leadership team, which lags the broader firm. We are encouraged by the growing number of leadership team members who identify with an underrepresented community, and we remain significantly invested in retaining and developing our pipeline of diverse future leaders.

We also know that to have true impact, we must embed DEI deeply within our firm and in the everyday actions of our people. All employees must feel belonging, support, and trust in order to thrive at Bain, yet we know this is not always the case for our colleagues from underrepresented backgrounds. We are taking a systemic approach to make progress. We have dedicated resources through our DEI Transformation Office that are working with our global DEI team and local leaders from every office to reexamine our culture, our employees’ experiences, and the support and development available to them. Collectively, we are gaining a better understanding of those different lived experiences for our employees and prioritizing actions that we believe will close the gaps so that every Bainie feels high levels of belonging, support, and trust.

How We Hire and Develop Talent

We have long believed deeply in the power of bringing together people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, skills, and strengths—and in the richer experience and learning that comes to every individual when we do so in an equitable and inclusive way.

This starts with our hiring practices. Over the past decade, we have developed and honed early outreach programs to attract talented Black, Latinx, and Indigenous candidates to Bain’s US consulting staff: Our Building Entrepreneurial Leaders program focuses on undergraduate sophomores, and our Building and Supporting Excellence scholars program focuses on incoming MBA students. We also offer ExperienceBain events globally for MBA students who identify as part of an underrepresented racial group, as LGBTQ, as a woman, or as a military veteran. We also are piloting a program to build freshman-year relationships with Black, Latinx, and Indigenous college students earlier in their job search. We have been testing, learning from, and expanding these programs for several years, and we are excited that the alumni from these programs resulted in unprecedented Black and Latinx representation in each of the past three years among our incoming classes of associate consultants and consultants at Bain.

In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, a region-wide evolution of our recruiting processes and tools is underway to help us access even more diverse pools of candidates. These efforts are not limited to our consultants; we are expanding our sources of talent to increase our exposure to diverse slates of candidates for our expert and functional teams around the globe as well.

Our investment continues when people join Bain. We’ve long had an apprenticeship culture that provides an unmatched learning experience and opportunities for growth. Yet external DEI research shows it can be harder for team members from underrepresented backgrounds to have equitable access to on-the-job coaching and mentorship. In North America, over the past year, we launched an onboarding program for new Black and Latinx employees, and we scaled a sponsorship program regionally to ensure that our underrepresented consulting employees have full access to career advice and mentorship that expands opportunities for success. We also have expanded our professional development and allyship efforts for our Asians at Bain team. Through our DEI Transformation Office, we continue to look deeply at how we can better support all of our employees from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

Likewise, we want to go further to ensure that our core talent management systems and processes mitigate the unconscious biases that exist in society—biases that can be particularly harmful during the critical early moments of individual careers. Employers can no longer ignore the existence of systemic biases and how those biases manifest across structures and processes. In response, we have reimagined the first-year experience for our new consulting hires to set them up for success, particularly in the coaching they receive during their first feedback sessions, which is designed to encourage confidence and growth. We also continue to reinforce ways that leaders can effectively develop diverse and inclusive teams.

An additional way we invest in creating belonging and support for all Bainies is through our growing network of affinity groups, including our allyship network. We continue to grow our formal affinity groups, extending and growing our Black and Asian affinity groups throughout several offices in Europe and Africa and most recently adding Diverse Abilities at Bain in North America for those who identify with a disability as well as those who are caregivers for someone who identifies with a disability. These groups provide targeted support as well as a sense of community and connectedness among members. To support those who identify with underrepresented groups in their specific countries, offices are also forming local groups, such as the Bain Indigenous Program to contribute to the equitable self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia or our 1GEN group of employees who are the first in their families to go to college or who come from low-income backgrounds.

How We Build an Inclusive Culture

Our firm is built on a foundation of extraordinary teams. And we have long sought ways to make our teams even more extraordinary through diversity and inclusion. This requires all of us, every day, to continue to work on strengthening inclusion in our firm. Over the past year, we ran global surveys and discussed the results with all employees so that we could better understand the ways that we include—and the ways that we exclude. Across all of our regions, offices are engaging their teams in dialogues and initiatives to be more inclusive, and we are embedding our ongoing learning in codified “inclusive teaming” toolkits and training. We are infusing more DEI skill-building opportunities into our global training programs so that every new Bainie who attends will have a chance to develop and practice inclusive behaviors within their first few months at the firm.

Also, importantly, we are all taking more time to listen and build community. In 2020, we held more than 100 DEI dialogues in local offices around the world, hosting speakers, panel discussions, storytelling hours, book clubs, and accountability groups to learn together. We focus on expanding gender inclusivity beyond an assumed binary, embedding respectful pronoun usage throughout the firm and offering progressive health policies across the gender spectrum.

We share each other’s joys and celebrations. Each of our affinity groups devotes time in the calendar year to recognize the history and heritage of the community—for example, Asian Pacific American Heritage month or Pride month—that includes a series of events and broader campaigns while also fostering important dialogue and discussions with members and allies alike. And we provide resources for leaders throughout the organization to be more responsive to the many cultures represented within our firm.

How We Stay Accountable

Change requires strong advocacy and accountability from leadership. Over the past 12 months, we have created a DEI subcommittee of the Bain & Company board of directors, appointed our first chief diversity officer, and strengthened our network of local leaders to ensure global, regional, and local connections and to encourage a test-and-learn approach to changes we are making. We continue to look deeply at where we are and ask ourselves tough questions about all areas of our business, including how we recruit and how we manage and mentor our exceptional talent. And while sentiment can be difficult to measure, we continue to develop ways to ensure that our firm’s leaders—including global, regional, functional, practice, and office leaders—make thoughtful, data-driven decisions about how to make our firm a place where everyone truly feels belonging, support, and trust.