MENLO PARK, Calif. -- The career outlook for women in finance and accounting has improved over the past decade, suggests a new survey from global staffing firm Robert Half. More than four in 10 (42 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said the ability of women in the finance field to advance through the ranks is better now than 10 years ago. Just 4 percent of executives said there are fewer opportunities for women.
The survey findings are being released in advance of the 2013 Accounting & Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) Annual Conference, being held Oct. 20-23 in Indianapolis. Robert Half's Accountemps and Robert Half Finance & Accounting divisions are the Exclusive Staffing Visionary Partners of AFWA and have been alliance partners since 1996.
The survey was developed by Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.
CFOs were asked, "Compared to 10 years ago, in general, are there more or fewer opportunities for women to advance through the ranks in accounting and finance?" Their responses:
- Significantly more - 12%
- Somewhat more - 30%
- No change - 53%
- Somewhat fewer - 3%
- Significantly fewer - 1%
- Don't know - 2%
(*Responses do not total 100 percent due to rounding.)
"Many organizations have made great strides in promoting female professionals in accounting and finance to the executive ranks, but there's more to do," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. "Ensuring a diverse staff and attracting and retaining top talent should be an ongoing priority. Offering work/life balance programs can be attractive incentives for employees with children, for instance."
"In partnership with Robert Half, AFWA is focused on increasing diversity and gender equity at every level of the profession -- from entry-level accountant to CFO," said Lee K. Lowery, CAE, AFWA executive director. "We want all employees to feel valued where they are employed, while having access to networking opportunities, leadership development and education."
As part of AFWA's conference, Robert Half has assisted with planning for the Executive Host Tour portion of "Preparing for Your Future in Accounting & Finance," a day-long event for students. The Executive Host Tour will give college students an opportunity to visit a Big Four accounting firm and learn what it's like to work there.
Noteworthy sessions presented by Robert Half during the conference include "2014 Accounting and Finance Hiring and Compensation Outlook" and "Smartphones, Email, Social Networks – Oh, My! Effectively Navigating Protocols in the Digital Age." Free continuing professional education credit is available for attendees of these sessions.