Retaining People of Color at Accounting Firms
Five key strategies revealed.
September 20, 2007
According to “Retaining People of Color: What Accounting Firms Need to Know,” Catalyst’s first report in the Women of Color in Professional Services Series, approximately 50 percent of people of color people in the accounting industry who were surveyed do not feel obligated to stay with their current firm, and nearly one-third of women of color were at risk of leaving within the year.
Factors Leading to Resignation
In order to address why people of color are at risk of leaving accounting firms, Catalyst examined key factors that “push” people of color — particularly women — out of their firms. One primary issue is the imperfect execution of a firm’s commitment to diversity. The Catalyst study revealed a perceived disconnect between a firm’s commitment to diversity and the execution of the practices that support that commitment. This disconnect is noticed by women and men of color, clearly demonstrating that diversity policies aren’t filtering down to racial and ethnic minority groups as effectively as they should.
Other push factors include:
Six Key Retention Strategies
Although employers have little impact on pull factors that lead individuals to leave organizations, such as offers of high-paying jobs at other firms, employers can help retain their workforces by focusing on the push factors that frequently stimulate employees to leave. The following actions can help:
The retention of top talent is particularly important to accounting firms. “To stay competitive, these firms can’t afford to train employees only to see many of their best and brightest leave to pursue other options,” said Ilene H. Lang, President of Catalyst. “Organizations that work to break down the ‘concrete ceiling’ that impedes the advancement of people of color will benefit by capitalizing on the full talent pool.”
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Catalyst is a non-profit corporate membership research and advisory organization that works with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women and business. Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit corporate membership research and advisory organization working globally with businesses and the professions to build inclusive environments and expand opportunities for women and business. To download a free copy of Retaining People of Color: What Accounting Firms Need to Know, visit www.catalyst.org.