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Finance chiefs optimistic about female career prospects

FINANCE CHIEFS believe opportunities are much greater for women to progress through finance than ten years ago.

Two-thirds of UK finance chiefs surveyed by Robert Half said there were more opportunities for women to advance through the accounting and finance ranks than previously.

Nine in ten believed that this increased opportunities for women to secure executive board positions, a figure brought into focus as Lord Davies has revealed that there are no more all-male FTSE 100 boards. In 2011, women only accounted for 12.5% of board members.

Lord Davies’ final report on gender equality includes a new target of all FTSE 350 boards having 33% female representation by 2020 – around 350 more women in top positions.

Female finance chiefs are more positive than male FDs about the opportunities: 67% of women are positive about female finance career paths, compared to 61% of men.

Phil Sheridan, MD of Robert Half UK, said: “Creating a diverse talent pool should be at the top of the agenda for businesses, alongside attracting and retaining skilled professionals.

“Providing more career opportunities for women within finance will see a stronger talent network for business to draw upon. This will not only improve prospects for women, but for the economy as a whole.”

Despite the positivity, other stats show there is still plenty of work to do.

The FRC’s latest Key Facts and Trends Survey shows that the total proportion of female members and students in the accountancy profession remained broadly constant between 2010 and 2014 at around 50%. However, the percentage of female qualified members is 36%, having crept up from 34% during that period. This shows that men are still having longer careers in the profession.

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