IS THE GENDER DIVIDE STILL KEEPING THE FINANCIAL PROFESSION IN THE DARK AGES?Apr. 15, 2013, 11:08am
Despite the fact 50%* of people joining the accountancy industry are women the profession is still seen as a man’s world due to under representation of the female sex at senior level.
The numbers simply don’t add up! In comparison to in the 1970s when only 5%* of accountants were women significant advances have been made for them to have an equal representation in the workforce. However, only 23%* of all partners in accountancy firms are female; so is it still an old boys club?
It is evident we do not have a supply problem of potential senior women in the profession so it is imperative we give them the opportunity to progress throughout their careers without discrimination.
According to recruitment firm The Mergis Group’s Women in Finance survey female accountants are growing ever more impatient at the barrier to excel, with 48% stating they were dissatisfied with their career progress.
The two-tier gender hierarchy is a serious problem, especially if our profession is going to move with the times and capitalise on the expertise of the most talented financial minds to lead the way; no matter what their sex are.
Within Tindle’s Chartered Accountants we instil the ethos of equality and that all of our staff have the potential to work their way up the career ladder in the firm, even to a partner level. In 2006 Angela Foster, who was my first trainee at Tindle’s, was made a partner at the firm and is seen as a role model for employees to follow in her footsteps.
There are a number of arguments for what is blocking progress of women to achieve senior roles. According to Rhonda Martin, head of ICAEW’s Women in Leadership team, there is a ‘dropping off’ period of females working aged 30 to 40 according to Rhonda Marti, partly explained by motherhood.
The most severe barrier is potentially an institutionalised preconception by senior figures about the leadership and traits of women, based on outdated stereotypes.
It is on our shoulders as educated employers to nurture our staff and give them opportunities based on merit to grow and lead by example.