A year of impact—powered by people

HBR has described McKinsey as a “leadership factory.” Our firm has been recognized this year by Time and Forbes, among others, for having produced more board members, CEOs, and other leaders than any other company. We are honored by this distinction because we believe that exceptional talent and extraordinarily complex challenges go hand-in-hand.

This belief informs both our client service and the way we work as a firm. As the demands on leaders grow more complex, we recognize that growth, inclusion and impact start with getting the talent equation right—within their organizations and beyond.

As McKinsey’s chief people officer, I’m proud of how our distinctive talent has helped our clients and firm make meaningful progress this year.

Here are a few of the milestones I’m reflecting on as we close the year.

Tearing down the “paper ceiling” by embracing potential beyond pedigree

In a world where disruption has become the norm, the ability to learn new things and be flexible is key. At McKinsey, we see this trend play out every day. That’s why we’ve broadened our campus-based sources of talent from about 700 core schools in 2020 to about 1,400 today, with plans to expand to more than 5,000.

Our recruiting teams now use game-based assessments that level the playing field for those without prior business experience. And we are providing learning, development, and apprenticeship opportunities to empower colleagues to think about their own career self-authorship.

This year, we also partnered with the nonprofit Opportunity@Work to tear the “paper ceiling” and help the more than 70 million workers in the US who are “skilled through alternative routes.” These workers are often overlooked due to lack of a traditional degree, yet hold enormous potential for the workforce and society at large.

We continue to hire more candidates through programs like apprenticeships or data boot camps, combining practical experience with hands-on support and coaching.

Doubling down on apprenticeship

We see apprenticeship as a “way of life,” rather than a program to execute. We encourage employees to take the driver’s seat in their professional development, by taking a self-authored approach catalyzed by mentorship and apprenticeship.  In 2023, we hosted a number of Apprenticeship Days in offices around the world, and have plans to host even more in 2024.

Leveraging gen AI and other technology to accelerate impact

Beyond using technology to bring in more diverse talent, we leverage it to help existing colleagues deepen their skills—and accelerate the way they deliver impact with clients. We recently launched Lilli, our firm’s proprietary gen AI solution for colleagues, that enables them to scan our entire knowledge base to bring the best of our insights, capabilities, and technology solutions to clients—in seconds.

We know gen AI and other advanced technologies can only generate value through the skills of people. That’s why we’ve doubled down on self-directed learning in support of individual ambitions and company priorities, with 34K McKinsey-created learning offerings. I am especially proud that 50K+ colleagues have taken training programs this year, a 5 percent increase YoY.

Informing the conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion

For the last decade, McKinsey has been on a journey to shape a global perspective on the relationship between leadership diversity and company performance. This year, we published the fourth installation of our research, Diversity matters more than ever, which includes—for the first time—a link to ESG metrics and shows the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion is stronger than ever.

We also continued our Women in the Workplace partnership with Lean In. Our 2023 report found for every 100 men elevated from the entry level to manager, only 87 women and a mere 73 women of color find themselves making the climb. Only by bringing these challenges to the fore can we address the systemic causes of inequities and help women rise to senior leadership roles unhindered by invisible barriers.

Creating an even more inclusive firm for our diverse colleagues

We are proud to be home to a distinctive and diverse community of colleagues, and we are committed to continually improving the way we work in service to them. We introduced a new reboarding program for working parents which was recently selected as a World Economic Forum lighthouse for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Elsewhere, our colleagues created new affinity groups, such as Access, which provides support to colleagues with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and mental health challenges, and Prism, founded to connect colleagues passionate about social inclusion and mobility.

And we were proud to welcome 250 more incredible leaders to our partnership this year, which today represents a broader range of backgrounds and career paths than ever before, including colleagues from across our affinity groups and those without a traditional university degree.

For more on what a career journey at McKinsey looks like, visit: https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/home

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