Yes, you read it right. Australia may have a reputation for male chauvinism and the world of transactions may be seen as a male domain, but why the mention of women? Well, as far as accounting firms go it would be generally accepted that there has been a massive improvement at entry level for male and female candidates in the last 20-30 years, indeed these days it would not be uncommon to see an annual intake whereby female candidates outnumber male candidates in some firms. However, at the upper echelons and in certain specialist business lines such as transaction services, while the gender gap may have narrowed, in most cases a clear disparity remains. Of course, firms are acutely aware of this and recognise that a more diverse work force can make better decisions but however committed they are to achieving gender balance there is still a long way to go to reach that goal.
As already mentioned, while entry levels may be largely gender balanced the higher up the pyramid you go the more the picture changes, intensifying at Senior Manager, Director and Partner levels. The disparity of women working at these levels in Transaction Services in Australia is a case in point, but a very real example and, while undoubtedly anyone with such a profile would be highly in demand it is also just that – an example – for similar and manifold scenarios prevail across the globe.
The pros and cons of quotas and positive selection, not only for women but for many other under-represented groups, will undoubtedly remain with us for years to come but, subject to a genuine need of human resource, the overriding message from professional firms is loud and clear – women, we want you!