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Diversity in finance: balancing the books

8th March 2018

With International Women’s Day still fresh in our minds, we’ve been thinking about equality and diversity in the accountancy world. Traditionally, finance has been a male-dominated sector, with little representation from women in senior positions in accountancy and related sectors. But it’s 2018 now, has anything changed?

As of December 2017, women made up 43% of the financial workforce in the UK. That just under half of financial positions are now occupied by women is progress in itself, in what has long been considered a male sphere.

The disparity comes when looking at both job seniority within financial firms and wage discrepancies. According to a 2016 report by Visible Women, a campaign aimed at increasing the presence of female role models in traditionally male industries, only 18.9% of executive board members, partners and senior accountants were female. What’s more, only 1.5% of these women were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, and perhaps largely due to the lack of women in senior roles, the financial services sector has the second greatest gender pay gap of any industry in the UK.

With these figures in mind, it seems something needs to change in finance. Indeed, the Visible Women campaign highlights a number of recommendations, including more support from accounting firms to encourage women into the sector, embracing a more flexible approach for women with family commitments, and committing to research into such wide pay gaps.

The future looks brighter, however. The Office for National Statistics found that the gender pay gap is significantly smaller for younger women who are starting their careers now. It also reported a 12% pay rise for women in finance from 2011-2017, with a 10% rise for their male equivalents.

Ultimately, diversity in your workforce has been proven to benefit your bottom line. Research by Credit Suisse has shown that companies where women make up at least 15% of senior managers have more than 50% higher profitability than those where female representation is less than 10%.

The numbers speak for themselves. With such a small percentage of women in senior finance roles in the current workplace, steps should be taken to ensure female staff within the sector are afforded the same opportunities as their male colleagues.

At Grafton Banks Finance, we are strongly committed to diversity and practice an equal approach when it comes to our candidates. Our experts recognise candidates for their skills, qualifications and experience, ensuring we always place the right people in the right positions. If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you, please contact Nigel Jeyes 01273 229499 or email nigel@graftonbanks.co.uk for an in-depth, confidential consultation.

Should you wish to contact us out of hours, please call 07714 765482.

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