Women in Accountancy: Brighton’s Partner Count

Tune in for our latest blog in the ‘Ask a Recruiter’ series, where we share questions our candidates have about anything within and outside of the job search process. In case you missed it, our previous blog answered the question of finding work at a startup vs a corporate company.

This week we’ve decided to answer a question posed by a client of ours to change things up a bit and discuss a query about Brighton and Hove firms. 
During a recent meeting, a hiring manager at a notable Sussex firm posed the question: “What proportion of partners at accounting firms are women?”
I wasn’t entirely sure of the answer, but being interested, I decided to look into it.

To gain insight, I looked at 17 chartered accountancy firms in Brighton and Hove. These all had more than 1 partner (or in the case of no partner, directors). What I found was of 80 partners/directors I measured, 11 were women. This means just 13.8%, which is 4.2% lower than the national average.

While this initial research is in no way conclusive (the approach in selecting the firms involved is a little less than scientific), it does give an interesting insight into the gender balance at the top of our local firms.

Though this looks to be the case locally, the gender imbalance within senior positions is shifting at the national level. Just last month, Alison Rose was named the first female leader of a Big 4 bank. A broader shift can be seen in the trends across the FTSE 350. In the last 8 years, the number of all-male boards has decreased from 152 to just 5 – a 96.7% drop.

However, for accountancy firms, national data indicates something of a bottleneck. Firms included in the top 50+50 survey showed that 45% of qualified accountants were female. THis demonstrates a 27% disparity between women accessing the sector and those making partners.

There are still substantial barriers preventing women from rising to senior levels which require addressing and solutions. However, the pressing question now is: What can firms in Brighton and Hove do to remove these barriers?

Tune in for our next instalment of ‘Ask a recruiter’. If you want to get in touch about a question you’d like to ask us, contact our team.

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