Women in Accounting & Finance Face Different Challenges Than Male Counterparts

Survey reveals a definitive need for more mentors in the profession

Nov 14, 2011, 10:57 ET from The Mergis Group

BOSTON, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest Mergis Group Women in Finance survey,  nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of women in accounting and finance believe they face a dissimilar set of obstacles as opposed to their male counterparts. Despite this differentiation, two-thirds of women believe accounting and finance is a career path that provides a good work/life balance. Moreover, the majority of both men (88 percent) and women (86 percent) would encourage young women to pursue the finance and accounting field, although the collective findings reveal that both men and women agree that there is a need for more mentors in the profession to help bolster successful careers.

Among the key findings of this year's survey:

Most Finance Professionals Would Recommend the Profession, But Believe There Are Not Enough Mentors

  • Less than a third of both women (28 percent) and men (31 percent) report they have never had a mentor or role model to support their careers in the accounting and finance profession.
  • Alternately, approximately two-thirds of men and women said that they believe role models are critical to the success of one's career in accounting and finance.
  • The majority of both men and women in accounting and finance would recommend the profession to a family member, with 80 percent of women and 86 percent of men reporting so.
  • Additionally, the majority of both men (88 percent) and women (86 percent) would absolutely recommend the profession to young women.

Best Practices for Encouraging Young Women to Enter the Field

  • More than half of women (61 percent) and men (55 percent) believe there is a need for greater promotion of accounting and finance as a career choice for women.
  • Half of the women and men surveyed claim greater mentoring programs would help.
  • Thirty-five percent of women and 26 percent of men feel greater education programs about the field are necessary to pique interest.
  • Greater availability of scholarship grants would also be an incentive to further promote the career, say 34 percent of women, while only 13 percent of men polled feel that to be the case.

Most Important Factors Leading to Personal Career Success in Finance and Accounting

  • About half of both men (48 percent) and women (51 percent) rate accounting and finance skills and expertise as the top factor to success.
  • Relationship building and personal networking came in second according to 41 percent of women and 39 percent of men.
  • Forty-one percent of men believe that developing management skills is a priority as compared to only 22 percent of women who do.
  • Approximately one-third of men (37 percent) and women (34 percent) claim gaining accounting and finance experience is critical to personal success.

Less Than Half (48 Percent) Of Women in Accounting & Finance Satisfied With Their Careers

  • Women are less satisfied with the progression of their accounting and finance careers than men. Specifically, 59 percent of male workers in accounting and finance consider themselves to be satisfied, as opposed to 48 percent of women.
  • Women in accounting and finance ranked being challenged (35 percent), compensation (27 percent) and flexibility (12 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.
  • On the other hand, men in accounting and finance ranked compensation (35 percent), being challenged (29 percent) and flexibility (12 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.

According to Patricia Dinunzio, regional managing director of The Mergis Group, even though the findings of our Women in Finance survey conclude that nearly three-quarters of women believe they face a separate set of professional challenges in comparison to their male counterparts, 66 percent feel it's a career choice that provides them with a nice balance between their personal and professional lives.

"It is encouraging to the profession to note that both men and women are highly likely to recommend the profession to others," she said. "But, that said, one of the greatest take-aways from this survey is that there is a clear need for accounting and finance mentorship programs.  It is our responsibility to provide these resources to existing and future accounting and finance professionals to enable them to achieve their full career potential and contribute to the future development of the profession."

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About The Mergis Group

The Mergis Group is a leading professional placement firm that specializes in recruiting for positions in finance and accounting, engineering and manufacturing, sales and marketing, legal and human resources. The firm provides recruiting services to Fortune 500 and small and mid-sized companies through its network of 35 offices nationally.

The Mergis Group is a now a part of Randstad. For more information, please visit www.mergisgroup.com.

About Randstad

Randstad is an $18.8 billion global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. From temporary staffing to permanent placement to inhouse, professionals, search & selection, and HR Solutions, Randstad holds top positions around the world and has approximately 27,500 corporate employees working from its nearly 4,200 branches and inhouse locations in 43 countries. Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands, Randstad Holding nv is listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam (RAND.AS). Learn more at www.randstad.com.  

SOURCE The Mergis Group