Is enough being done to tackle the issue of gender inequality in the accountancy industry?
It’s certainly an industry that has been predominantly male dominated historically!
Published in November, the Top 50 + 50 Accountancy Age report revealed that despite firms’ leadership remaining predominately male, the percentage dropped from 87 percent to 76 percent in 2020 and that almost half of the people who work in the sector identified as female.
So the situation is improving but there’s still a really long way to go!
As an accountancy leader we’re sure you’ll be looking for actions that you can take that will deeply entrench more fairer recruitment practices into your firm as well as the quick wins which will see that percentage continue to decline until we reach more of an even keel.
In line with their report, Accountancy Age have also revealed some suggested actions that HR managers in practice can take to play their part in tackling a lack of gender diversity in accountancy.
1. Sign up to the Women in Finance Charter
The Women in Finance Charter is a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry.
2. Keep a close eye on the Chartered Accountants Worldwide Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce.
3. And be inspired by the great work of others.
Here’s a list of just some of the practices that we believe have made a difference so far to the firms that have adopted them. These are the policies that are driving that percentage down and if you can adopt one or two of them two, you’ll be part of the change.
- Flexible working
- Carers/Family Leave
- Generous maternity leave and pay
- A supported return to work scheme
- Examining the hiring process for blatant or hidden bias
- HR policies that allow employees to be supported during periods of infertility, the menopause and other life phases that place significantly greater challenge on women
- Women in leadership programmes
- Target setting for gender equity in leadership teams
- An equitable workplace culture and brand values
“At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’re pleased to see that the male:female ratio in accountancy is becoming more of an even playing field. But we see, firsthand, how much further there is to go. The recent pandemic has acted as a double edged sword; the greater burden of caring responsibilities was placed back on women making it harder for them to access the best roles in accountancy. But on the other hand a shift to remote working on a permanent basis for many firms will be a win for the fight for gender equality. The fact remains that there’s plenty employers can do to ensure they are not guilty of unconscious bias in the recruitment or retention process and we’re very keen to offer our expertise here.”
Garry Howling, MD
At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a diverse and inclusive recruitment service to the niche sector of accountancy practice. To work with a firm that understands the unique history behind the gender imbalance in our sector and who can also advise on how to set your firm up for positive change, reach out to us today.
And if you found this article helpful, you’ll find plenty of other resources on the topic of diversity and inclusion in our employer’s hub.