Some intriguing highlights from a new survey of chief financial officers were released in advance of the October 2013 Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) Annual Conference held in Indianapolis. One of the key findings shared was that many CFOs believe there are more career opportunities for women in finance and accounting than ten years ago.
The survey was conducted by staffing firm Robert Half,® and results were based on interviews with 2,100 CFOs from “a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.”1
Improvement in the Past 10 Years Seen by 42 Percent
Specifically, the firm asked CFOs, “Compared to 10 years ago, in general, are there more or fewer opportunities for women to advance through the ranks in accounting and finance?”1
The responses broke down as follows:
Significantly more: 12 percent
Somewhat more: 30 percent
No change: 53 percent
Somewhat fewer: 3 percent
Significantly fewer: 1 percent
Don’t know: 2 percent
(Responses total more than 100 percent due to rounding.)1
Based on these results, 42 percent agreed that growth opportunities for women seeking an accounting or finance career have improved in the past 10 years. While this news is positive, more than half of the CFOs surveyed have seen NO change. Therefore, it seems as though women have a way to go before closing the gap on the number of high-level positions held in the finance and other industries vs. men.
Men Still Earn More than Women
It’s no secret that across all industries, men still earn more money than women. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – and this number hasn’t budged in the past decade.2
Women are also under-represented in top-level positions and partnerships at accounting firms, according to research conducted by the American Institute for CPAs (AICPA). Only 19 percent of partners in CPA firms are women. This is a 2 percent decrease from the 21 percent reported in 2011.3
New Grad Finance Opportunities Abound for Both Sexes
While the struggling economy has made it difficult for many new graduates to find work in their chosen fields, recent finance and accounting graduates have plenty of opportunities to consider.
Recruiters in the finance and accounting industry are always looking for good talent – both for entry-level finance jobs and for positions that require more experience. It all depends on what you want to do, whom you want to work for and where.
If you’re willing to take a position at a smaller, private firm you could have an easier time finding that first or second job. On the other hand, if you aspire to work for one of the larger, elite firms – you will need to work hard to differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Where you attended school, which degrees and certifications you have acquired, your grades – these things are all important. But the competition for the best entry-level accounting jobs and finance gigs is stiff. Focusing on areas of specialty; finding great mentors; and building and working your professional network all need your attention if you want to rise to the top.
At Doostang, we are committed to helping you stand out from the competition. To find out how we have helped other candidates land the accounting and finance positions they were striving for, check out Doostang success stories. To learn more about our services and process, visit our website and sign up today.
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1. “Career Paths Improving for Women In Finance And Accounting,” (press release). Menlo Park, Calif.: Robert Half® Finance & Accounting; Oct. 15, 2013. Available at http://rhfa.mediaroom.com/women-finance-accounting-career-paths. Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.
2. Adams S. “Are Women Catching Up in Pay?” Forbes website, www.forbes.com.; April 9, 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/04/09/are-women-catching-up-in-pay/. Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.
3. El-Ramly, Y. CPA/CITP. “Women’s initiatives: A strategic advantage.” Journal of Accountancy website, www.journalofaccountancy.com; September 2013. Available at http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2013/Sep/20137820.htm. Accessed Oct. 18, 2013.