Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Promoting Women Pays Off

Talk as they might about retention and progressiveness, accounting firms in Britain aren't doing a particularly good job at promoting women. "(T)here are as many women as men within accountancy, but few attain partnership status. And within the Big Four, female partnership appointments have dropped by a third in the past year," writes Paul Bibby in Accountancy Age.

That's too bad, because having more diversity in the management and executive ranks seems to have a positive impact on company performance, he says.

New research from strategy consulting firm McKinsey has found a direct link between company results and women at the top, and has unearthed evidence of better than average financial performance by European companies with the highest proportion of women in influential leadership roles.

Across the pond, US research body Catalyst has found that Fortune 500 companies with the highest proportion of female directors are more profitable and efficient than those with the lowest.

His conclusion:

Accountancy firms may have done much to promote the ethos of diversity and equal opportunities. However, if this is not translated into more female partners, the annual haemorrhage of newly qualified accountants to other sectors is likely to increase.

Those firms that provide the support and opportunity for women to effectively climb the partnership ladder will be the ones that will ultimately win the war for talent.

Moving forward: women on top [Accountancy Age]

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