Last week, the Australian Institute of Company Directors released its Gender Diversity Progress Report for the March to May 2017 quarter. The report is based on a campaign to get all ASX 200 company boards to have women make up at least 30 per cent of their directors.
While 71 ASX 200 boards have achieved the 30 per cent target, accounting software provider MYOB hasn’t. MYOB currently has two female directors, making up 28.6 per cent of its total board.
Earlier this year when MYOB director Paul Edgerley resigned, MYOB temporarily shifted about the 30 per cent target, but dropped below again when Edward Han was appointed.
However, MYOB chairman Justin Milne is a member of the '30% Club', meaning he has committed to achieving at least 30 per cent females on the MYOB board by 2018 or as soon as he can.
The CEO of MYOB, Tim Reed, told Accountants Daily that there is a lot to be done to progress a broader representation of women within Australia and the global business community.
“We are close to AICD’s 2018 board of director’s goal of 30 per cent representation by 2018 and we continue to seek out opportunities to create an inclusive work environment at all levels of our business,” Mr Reed said.
“MYOB is committed to supporting initiatives and practices that celebrate diversity in all its forms, as it helps us to enrich our understanding and responsiveness to the world around us. This allows us to have the greatest positive impact on the lives of our clients.
Mr Reed said while they haven’t quite achieved the 30 per cent target in their board, they have in their senior executive team.
“In the last 12 months we have made several appointments to our senior executive team, with women now comprising 33 per cent,” he said.
“This is absolutely pivotal, as these leaders work hand in hand with our people and can demonstrate the behaviours and outcomes that come from a business culture which embraces diversity.”
The big picture
While MYOB is just slightly shy of its targets, the broader issue of gender diversity equity in the accounting profession is persistently problematic.
Earlier this year, research from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency indicated that finance and insurance services sector, including accounting, has the highest gender pay gap, as well as low numbers of women in leadership roles.
In 2015-16, the average full-time base salary for women in the financial and insurance services sector was $84,593, almost $30,000 less than their male counterparts whose average full-time base salary was $114,204.
This represents a 25.9 per cent gender pay gap and puts the financial and insurance services sector at the top of the table above all other sectors.
Further, late last year, the ATO released income data for the 2013-14 financial year, revealing major pay gaps between female and male accounting professionals.
For example, women who fell into the accountant and chartered accountant category had an average taxable income of $71,552. Men in the same category, however, had an average taxable income of $105,107.
For male tax accountants, the average taxable income was $75,854. For their female counterparts it was $61,239.
Comments following the Accountants Daily story, which can be viewed here, indicate that despite the raw data, many believe the industry has achieved equal opportunity status.