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Women in accountancy

Female chartered accountants face a number of challenges in the finance profession. We are committed to highlighting these issues and making the global business case for recruiting and retaining female financial talent.

The challenges

  • There is still an issue with women reaching the ‘glass ceiling’. In March 2012 just 15.6% of directors in FTSE 100 companies were women, and 11 of those businesses did not have a single woman on the board, reports the 2012 Female FTSE report from Cranfield School of Management.
  • Three times as many female members take career breaks compared to males. This can result in disengagement with the profession and a loss of talent from the sector. 

Why women mean business

Gender diversity in the workplace is fundamental to business success. Research has shown that companies with more women in leadership positions are more profitable and more efficient. Additionally, the Equalities Act 2010 means the issue of recruiting and retaining female financial talent is more pertinent than ever.

Skilled finance professionals remain in high demand and the competition for them is intensifying both on a national and global scale. In the UK and across the EU, women represent a large slice of this talent pool. They are becoming central to meeting the combined challenges of an ageing workforce, falling birth rates and a skills shortage.

International Women's Day - 8 March

Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their economic, political and social achievements. International Women’s Day is an opportunity for ICAEW to share our commitment to championing the role of women, both in the accountancy profession and throughout the wider business world.

How we support female members

We equip female ACAs with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in what is still, unfortunately, a male-dominated industry. 

  • We show you how your salary compares with industry averages through our annual career benchmarking survey. We also use the results of this to highlight remuneration inequality through media. 
  • Our ICAEW Women in Leadership programme grooms mid to senior level women for board level, senior management or director/partner positions. It provides solid leadership training with additional elements that focus on the needs of women specifically. Launched in April 2011, the nine month programme focuses on developing participants’ unique leadership style through a blend of workshops, peer learning groups and one-to-one mentoring sessions. We are currently enrolling for April and October 2012 – find out more
  • The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides access to the latest publications and research as well as guides, articles and books on topics such as women in the boardroom, women in business, returning to the workplace, networking and leadership to support members in developing their careers and fulfilling their potential. View the Library’s career and personal development resources
  • We show you how your salary compares with industry averages through our annual career benchmarking survey. We also use the results of this to highlight remuneration inequality through media.

Women in the City Awards

ICAEW supports the national Women in the City Awards Programme.  The Woman of Achievement Award recognises senior and partner level women working in professional services. Nominees actively support the progress of women within their organisation, sector and the wider business world.  The Future Leaders Award identifies high potential women at the point of transition between management and leadership.  The Future Leaders Award Winner is offered a complimentary place on our Women in Leadership programme as part of her Award Prize.