Forty years on from the phrase ‘glass ceiling’ being used to define thwarted careers and ambitions - especially for women - ACCA is calling for business leaders to show real and measurable progress on diversity and social mobility issues, as it marks International Women’s Day 2018.
The global theme for this year’s event is #pressforprogress, seeking advances on a number of issues from gender pay parity to equality of opportunity.
Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive, says: ‘2018 is the 40th anniversary of the phrase ‘glass ceiling’ first being used by business consultant Marilyn Loden. Looking forward, if there’s one area where I wish to see sustained progress, it’s to ensure career ladders breakthrough the glass ceiling for women. We have to take a wider view and seek progress on social mobility - unequal access to opportunities still exists for many women and men.’
‘ACCA has welcomed policies to address issues such as disparity in pay and boardroom diversity in the UK and globally. There are examples of good practice highlighted in our recent report Generation next: managing talent in large accountancy firms, which shows how the Big Four are addressing diversity to ensure women have a place and voice in their business. This includes KPMG’s women in finance forum and Deloitte conducting ‘blind interviews’ to tackle recruitment bias.’
Reuter Chua, head of ACCA Singapore adds: ‘The accountancy profession is an attractive career choice for many because of the flexibility and choice it offers. At ACCA we’ve made opportunity a reality, with an open access policy that enables anyone to qualify as a professional accountant. By simply removing the need for prior qualifications, we’ve created access to a profession that offers a rewarding career.’
ACCA says employers and their recruitment strategies are part of the success equation for diversity. Reuter Chua continues: ‘As our Gen Next report shows, creating the leaders of tomorrow is an on-going task for firms. The tone clearly has to be set from the top, with a transparent culture that’s committed to diversity. We have to measure this progress too – after all, what’s not measured can’t be managed. Effective corporate leadership is needed to achieve real and lasting progress. At ACCA we believe this can be made through open discussion, transparent reporting and ensuring diversity is an integral part of how we work now and in the future.’
ACCA has also asked its ACCA Singapore women members about social mobility in a report called Purpose and the Profession, which is an interesting read. Happy Women’s Day, ladies!