Speaking to Accountants Daily, EY head of transaction advisory services David Larocca, said that there is a combination of factors contributing to the perception problem that currently exists in the corporate finance industry.
“We know that the industry doesn’t get as many applications from female students as from male students, and we try to understand why that is,” Mr Larocca said.
“Although there may be equal numbers of females and males enrolling in commerce degrees, there are less females enrolled in more specialised accounting, finance and maths.”
“We believe that young women are not made aware of the breadth of backgrounds, experiences and service areas within corporate finance.”
Mr Larocca believes that it is the duty of accounting firms to address this issue by implementing programs, policies and targets.
“An overall strategy and true commitment to diversity and inclusiveness for the organisation is critical – this must be led from the top,” he said.
“From a graduate recruitment perspective, getting out on campus and talking to students, career offices and lecturers about our business is working, and we hold information events to explain all the various parts of our business and how broad our services are.”
It is imperative that this gender imbalance improves according to Mr Larocca, as clients are increasingly wanting to work with firms that reflect their own make up.
“We’re finding that our clients are actually demanding diversity of all sorts, and it’s a business imperative for us to get this right,” he said.
“We are wanting to continue to get the message out that this is an attractive career choice for females.”