Women at work: AICPA guide addresses off-ramping issues

Over the past few years, it has become clear that organizations in the financial services, accounting, and consulting industries need to focus their energies on the attraction and retention of women professionals. The talent of these individuals is essential to the success of any professional services firm, and as the below statistics will reveal, this talent pool is experiencing tremendous change.

  • In the 17 years from 1946 to 1963, 79 million baby boomers were born in the U.S.

  • The following two decades resulted in the birth of just 43 million people

  • By 2010, the working population over age 55 will have increased by 47%

  • By 2008, women will make up 48% of the U.S. workforce

  • In 2006, 58% of all bachelors and masters degrees were granted to women

  • At this time, 60% of students enrolling in accounting programs are women

  • Over their careers, 37% of professional women will voluntarily leave their jobs (both temporarily and on a permanent basis).

  • In addition to the 37% who will exit the workforce, 30% will opt to take a Flexible Work Arrangement.

  • The phenomenon of professional women leaving the fast track with plans to return to full-time work later is called off-ramping. On average, these off-ramped women are out of the workforce for just 2.2 years

  • After this brief break, 93% will try to re-enter the workforce

    To assist accounting firms in addressing the issues raised by these statistics, the Work/Life and Women's Initiatives Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has created a 16-page booklet called, "Guide to Building a Successful Off-Ramping Program."

    You can access the booklet online, or you can request hard copies of the booklet at no charge by contacting womensinitiatives@aicpa.org and indicating how many copies of the booklet you would like.

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