The effect of gender and dependent children on professional accountants’ career progression
The ILO [International Labor Organization. Women in Management, Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling, An Update 2004. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labor Office; 2004.] reported that workingwomen are still concentrated in lower level management positions, thus perpetuating women's social and economic injustice. The accounting profession is no different with few women gaining a partnership in the international accounting firms. This study analyses demographics of 183 respondents in the large international accounting firms to examine women's career progression. We used a three-way analysis of covariance to investigate the dependent variable, management at five levels from partner to accounting senior. Independent factors are gender, dependent children, the number of years for accountants to attain their current position, the number of years in the profession, and accountants working in two countries, Australia and Singapore. Differing levels of institutional and social support may assist women accountants' promotion. Singapore has more institutional and social support for working mothers compared to Australia, which has yet to introduce universal paid maternity leave. We found that gender and dependent children significantly affected management advancement of female accountants, particularly mothers. In contrast managerial advancement of fathers was more positive and occurred more quickly than their female counterparts. The results also indicate that differing institutional and social support in Australia and Singapore made little difference to female promotion in international accounting firms. This suggests that international accounting firms should have formal policies globally such as flexible working arrangements and appropriate job design to encourage a more mothers into senior management rather than in many cases, informal arrangements. Moreover, the international accounting firms should also produce credible employee reports that provide informative analyses about employees for the public.
Critical Perspectives on Accounting