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Slow progress for women in the accountancy profession

Women in finance and accounting take on average seven more years than their male counterparts to reach executive level, according to research commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

According to the research, the careers of men and women in the profession initially progress at a near-parallel rate, but career progress for women begins to decelerate in middle management.

This is primarily due to limited peer sponsorship and a lack of high-profile projects or opportunities in comparison to men, the ACCA said. It is at this point of women’s career path were it will take an average of seven years longer to progress to executive level, according to The slow path to the top: the careers of women in finance and accounting.

The research found the lack of protection from workplace politics or exposure to higher level executives that male employees are more likely to receive from a more senior sponsor is a cause for the deceleration of women’s career progress.

ACCA’s director of professional insights Maggie McGhee said: “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.”

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