Female accountants see gender as barrier

HALF of female accountants consider their gender to be a barrier to success despite the fact that the pay gap between men and women is narrowing.

According to accountancy recruiting firm Marks Sattin, 51 per cent of women – compared to 12 per cent of men – believe that their gender inhibits career progression.

The female fears are founded, as women comprise less than 14 per cent of the European and UK boards of the Big 4 accounting firms.

But the salary gap between the genders is closing, with female accountants now earning on average 81 per cent of male accountants’ salaries compared to 77 per cent in 2010, claims Marks Sattin.

Melissa Geiger, KPMG’s youngest woman to make partner, believes the salary discrepancy is indicative of women not reaching the top rungs of the career ladder, rather than femininity being a holdback in itself.

The average age to make partner is 36 or 37, by which time many women have become mothers.

As chair of KPMG’s network of women, Geiger told The Capitalist that the firm is working towards a 25 per cent female board presence by 2015. KPMG currently has just one woman board member.