Accounting for gender  - women making partnership in Professional Service Firms

This research project is currently in its final stage and applies interdisciplinary frameworks to the in-depth study of women experiences of career advancement in the accountancy profession from a cross-national perspective. Based on interviews with sixty women partners in Professional Service Firms (PSFs) in Germany and the United Kingdom, it focuses on furthering our understanding of how women experience career advancement, and how these experiences differ cross-nationally and inter-organizationally. Considering the low number and proportion of female partners in the industry, the high number of participants allows for rich insights into the day-to-day practices, challenges and opportunities these women encountered whilst trying to integrate and balance their public and private lives.

This is of particular interest in the accounting industry and the wider Professional Services Firms sector where women remain widely underrepresented amongst partnership ranks, both in the UK and Germany, despite a relatively large investment of employers in ‘equality and diversity’ programs (Kornberger, Carter and Ross-Smith, 2010) as well as a comparatively high proportion of women entering as graduates (Kumra and Vinnicombe, 2008). Furthermore, as Kornberger, Carter and Ross-Smith (2010) remarked, citing Anderson-Gough et al. (2005) and others, the study of gender in PSFs at large, and the accounting profession in particular, continues to be an under-researched field and much of the current research focuses on a specific-country context and cross-national comparative studies are rare (Terjesen and Singh, 2008). 

Findings of this work in relation to women's experiences of advancement to partnership in Germany and the UK are summarised in this journal article. 

Findings of this work in relation to women's experiences of sexism in the industry can be accessed through this journal article

If you would like to find out more about this work, please contact