Belfast Telegraph

Women wait seven years longer for top jobs: report

By Staff Reporter

Women in finance and accounting take seven more years, on average, than their male counterparts to reach executive level, a new report has said.

'The slow path to the top' study found female members of the workforce often battle a 'two-tournament gender system' throughout their careers.

Commissioned by The Association of Chartered Certified Accountant, it was undertaken by King's College London and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), comparing the career trajectories of men and women in finance and accounting.

The research found that, while the careers of men and women in the sector initially progress in near-parallel, the careers of women decelerated in middle management.

It finds the main reason is 'limited peer sponsorship' and a lack of high-profile projects or opportunities in comparison to men.

It is at this stage of their career that women will take an average of seven years' longer to progress up to the next tier - executive level - than their male counterparts.

"While it is broadly acknowledged that the financial services sector has a long way to go to reach gender parity, with women occupying less than 20% of senior roles, this report is particularly interesting as it looks at the factors behind the seven-year lag that women are most likely to encounter when they reach middle management," said Maggie McGhee, director of professional insights at ACCA.

"In particular, the research takes a closer look at the 'confidence myth', whereby the hindered progression of female employees is attributed to a lack of confidence or appetite to 'lean in', which then rationalises or hides the inequalities or unfair dynamics in the workplace which are actually at fault. 

The research concludes that for many women, this deceleration of career progression comes about as they are given fewer strategic, stretch assignments and opportunities than their male colleagues, and they lack the protection from workplace politics or exposure to higher level executives that male employees are more likely to receive from a more senior 'sponsor' or mentor.

Belfast Telegraph

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