The slow path to the top: the careers of women in finance and accounting

The research traces macro-movements in the career trajectories of men and women in finance and accounting. This includes identifying the dimensions of work that either enable or impede the advancement of their respective careers – finding that men and women follow distinct patterns of ascension within the sector.

The slow path to the top

Overall, women did not reach executive level until seven years after men. The implication of this was the generation of a two-tournament gender system for reaching executive level. Men enter a fast-track route reaching upper middle management well in advance of women and men whose careers had plateaued. Despite this divergence, the careers of women accelerated at a faster rate once they had reached executive level.

When it comes to the experiences of men and women advancing in their careers overtime in the sector, women tended to blame themselves and others for external organisational impediments to their career progression. This raises pertinent questions regarding the individualising thrust of prevalent organisational logics, and the role of equality and corporate social responsibility within this.