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Accountancy 'supportive of female staff'

03/06/14

The accountancy sector is consistently successful when it comes to helping female staff fulfil their potential, according to a new report.

Although financial services is often seen as something of a boys' club where women struggle to gain recognition and promotion, this is not reflected in the world of accountants where diversity is improving regularly.

Career coaching company Talking Talent found that 94 per cent of female accountants consider their company to be supportive of women.

To assess diversity levels across the UK's private sector, the firm interviewed 1,000 professional female respondents, asking them about their experiences of prejudice and discrimination throughout their careers.

A section of the women questioned were working mothers, who can often face a great deal of difficulty in combining their job with their family commitments.

Overall, 44 per cent of women say their gender has hindered their career, or expect it to do so in the future despite efforts currently being made to improve on workplace diversity levels.

For 12 per cent of respondents, their experience of discrimination meant losing out on a promotion because of their gender.

"Employers need to promote a culture where professional women are comfortable voicing concerns about barriers to their careers. The level of prejudice and discrimination towards women and working mothers, and the fact such a large proportion have been passed over for promotion due to their gender is shocking," said Talking Talent chief executive officer Chris Parke.

He warned that firms will miss out on a huge number of potentially useful workers if they do not change their approach.

Accountancy firms, then, will be pleased to hear how they fared in the Talking Talent research.

Whatever the gender of candidates within this sector, experience remains crucial, with a recent study from Bloomsbury Professional alleging that poaching staff from competitors has become more popular in recent months.

Some 22 per cent of firms are considering doing so, up from eight per cent in 2013, reports the Financial Times.

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