60% of accounting firms have no women in senior roles

Gender diversity within financial services remains absent as less than one fifth (19%) of senior positions in the top 1000 accounting and finance firms are held by woman, while the top 100 perform better, a third (33%) still have no female partners or board members, according to research

The report, conducted by Visible Women, showed two thirds (64%), equivalent to 638 firms, have no women executive board members, partners or senior accountants.

It also found that of the 4,771 executive board members, partners and senior accountants identified in the top 1000 firms reviewed, only 903 are female with just 73 (1.5%) identifying as being women from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Only 4% of the firms had between 96% and 100% female representation, including 43 firms where the owner was female or where women occupied all board and partner positions.

Of all the accounting firms reviewed 98% had five or fewer female board members and partners.

The number of female accounting students has increased with female enrolments equalling or outstripping the number of male students despite this, 65% of professional members are male. ACCA has the highest proportion of female members and students, 46% and 61% respectively.

Barbara Kasumu, CEO of Elevation Networks said: ‘Our findings suggest that the glass ceiling is still very much evident in the accounting profession. Too few women are making it to the top of the profession, despite almost half of students enrolling with professional UK accounting courses being female.

‘Accounting firms need to be more intentional with initiatives designed to support women as they progress through the ranks. The profession needs to borrow best practice from other industries as a matter of urgency. The current rate of progress is too slow.’

The report follows Prime Minister Theresa May criticising the finance industry earlier this month for failing to promote and retain women and comes six years on since the Equality Act was passed in 2010.

Top 10 accounting firms by female executive headcount

Company Name

Executives/Partners

Women

% Female

KPMG

636

97

15.25

 

Blake Morgan Group

124

34

27.42

 

UHY Hacker Young

53

19

35.85

 

Smith & Williamson

140

19

13.57

 

Buzzacott

51

18

35.29

 

Whitmarsh Sterland

54

18

33.33

 

Grant Thornton UK

74

18

24.32

 

Critchleys

37

13

35.14

 

Moore Stephens

86

12

13.95

 

RGL

28

11

39.29

 

The report, Women in Finance: Not Adding Up! is available here PDF iconwomen_in_finance_report_-_final.pdf

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