Tracy Black said that research commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) made for “difficult if predictable reading for talented women looking to progress in the world of finance”.
“If we want to deliver positive change in gender diversity, we need to speak honestly and openly about the existence of barriers to women progressing in the workplace and about the need to overcome them,” Ms Black said.
ACCA’s report – “The slow path to the top: the careers of women in finance and accounting” – compares the career trajectories of men and women in finance and accounting. It revealed that women took on average seven years longer to progress to the next tier as they “battle with a two-tournament gender system throughout their careers”.
The research, conducted by King’s College London and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), found that while the careers of men and women in the sector initially progressed at the same pace, women found their career trajectory slowing down in middle management “due primarily to limited peer sponsorship and a lack of high-profile projects or opportunities in comparison to men”.
Ms Black said that ACCA and its partners had made a “welcome and insightful contribution” to the debate about how to ensure better female representation across business at all levels, from entry-level positions to management, senior management and leadership roles.