Stats on Women in Accounting and Financial Services Not So Positive

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While the news of industry layoffs continue, female accounting and financial services execs have other reasons to worry. According to data from Catalyst, women were but 23 percent of all partners at accounting firms in 2009, even though they made up about 49 percent of all accounting employees there. The representation of women in accounting and auditing remains strong. In 2010, women were 60.1 percent of all accountants and auditors. Women were 55 percent of newly hired accounting grads at CPA firms in 2009.

The Catalyst survey also detailed the percentage of female partners and the overall number of female employees at the largest accounting firms. In 2010, of all the partners, Deloitte had 18.8 percent who were women, with female employees at the firm making up 44 percent of the total workforce there. Ernst & Young reported 17.9 percent of their partners were female, and women employees constituted 49.2 percent of their overall staff. KPMG noted that 18.8 percent of their partners were women, with the total workforce 48.3 percent female. PricewaterhouseCoopers reported female partners made up 16.9 percent of the total number of partners, and women were 48.6 percent of their overall staff.

Women still lag in management positions

As far as women in the management pipeline, women were 8.7 percent of all CFOs in 2011. The report noted the usual corporate ladder climb for accountants, starting with the role of accountant, junior internal auditor or trainee, and on up to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, manager of internal auditing, controller, treasurer, financial vice president, chief financial officer or corporation president. The Catalyst report did note that women found advancement opportunities to be better at smaller firms.

Under represented in financial services management roles

A recent Catalyst report on women in financial services also indicated a similar trend as far as an underrepresentation of women in management roles. Looking at data collected from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Catalyst noted that women were 41.8 percent of all employees and 17.9 percent of executive and senior-level officials and managers at securities, commodity contract and financial investment firms.

The EEOC also indicated that women were 37.7 percent of all employees and 15.3 percent of executive and senior-level officials and managers at investment banking and securities dealing firms. Women were well represented in commercial banking, making up 60.9 percent of all employees, but only 28.9 percent of executive and senior-level officials and managers in the space.

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