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Women in leadership

by Sellick Partnership | 7 October 2015

Last week marked the launch of the ICAEW's new initiative for Women in Finance and Leadership and Sellick Partnership were proud to sponsor the event. There was a great turn out with almost 70 ICAEW members from both practice and industry. The purpose of the event was to offer personal career progression advice and tips on how to get to the top. 

Speakers included Sharon Thorne (Global Managing Partner for Deloitte UK), Hilary Lindsay (Deputy President of ICAEW) and Charlotte Sweeney who is a strategic thinker with expert knowledge of equality and diversity within the work place. Charlotte spoke of the 2008 financial crisis and of how few FTSE business had women on their board at the time. Whilst this is not the sole cause of the crisis, it was thought that too many boards where made up of similar profile people with little diversification. Following the events of the financial crisis, the government launched an initiative to increase the number of female executives that sat on FTSE boards by 2015. The figure they aimed for was 25% which was achieved this year. However when you dig a little deeper you will find that only 6% are full time and the remainder are in a non-executive capacity. 

Grant Thornton recently proved that businesses with more females on the board had out performed their like for like competitors across multiple sectors in Europe. Sellick Partnership is proud to have a 50/50 split on our board and would agree that this has contributed to our continued success. 

A recent study from womenintheworkplace.com said that it could take another 100 years before there is work gender equality in top jobs

So what advice can we give to women that want to push their careers to the top? Well, all the speakers had very similar stories and advice on what you can be doing. The first piece tip was that women are mostly networking with other women, but since men are more likely to hold top jobs, you need to be networking with men who may be able to help you advance further. The second piece of advice was not to be afraid to put yourself forward for senior roles. If you are not prepared to throw your hat in the ring, then it is highly likely that none else will for you. You may not always be successful with the application, however, it will create momentum for other opportunities and raise your profile within the organisation. 

I met a young ACA student at the networking event and she is a leading example of someone embracing the advice from the speakers and is putting herself ahead of the competition to attain a top job one day. Simone is hoping to become a voice of her generation and at 21 she has become the youngest ever chair of the Student Council for the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Charlotte Sweeney finished her speech by advising women to align themselves with recruiters that are well positioned to open senior position roles. Take the time to plan out what you want to achieve with your career and go for it. 

If you're looking for further advice on how to advance your career within the finance and accountancy, why not give me a call on 0161 834 1642 or email me on martin.parr@sellickpartnership.co.uk