We researched and analysed the data from the top 25 accountancy firms in the UK and found that women make up just a quarter of the executive boards.

In the top 25 executive boards, there are 518 members; 381 of which are male compared to 137 female board members. Twelve of the companies are male dominated, with 70% and 90% having male board members.

According to statistics, women made up 44% of full-time accountants in the UK in 2014. However, our research found that only two of the top 25 firms reflect this and a further six boards were only one third women. Shockingly, four executive boards had no women on them at all, with all four ranking in the top 20 firms.

When studying the data we found that out of the top 10 most common names of board members, nine were male names, with the first female coming in at the number 10 spot. Out of the top 20 most common names only two were female.

Here are the top 10 most common names:

  1. Mark
  2. David
  3. Andrew
  4. James
  5. Richard
  6. Paul
  7. Peter
  8. John
  9. Nick
  10. Sarah

Mark was the most common, appearing 20 times on executive boards, with David closely following in second place, with a total of 19 occurrences.

The first instance of seeing a woman in the list was Sarah, with seven board members having this name. This was followed by Caroline and Michelle, with both names only appearing three times each.

The largest accountancy firm in the UK had just a third of women on the board at 33%, whereas the 19th largest firm’s executive board boasted the most even split, with 52% male and 48% female  board members.

Sam Davies, CEO and co-founder of Real Links, said,

“While statistics show that the accounting industry has a relatively even split between men and women, it seems women are still struggling to climb to the top of their firms.

“The statistics we discovered were shocking and show that inequality is still prevalent in the industry. Despite targets and policies designed to encourage more women into senior roles, progress has been slow. The recent gender gap reporting has shown that parity is still a long way off, so at Real Links, we think that employers need to consider anonymising recruitment to ensure candidates are chosen on experience rather than being subject to any unconscious bias.

“The top 25 accountancy firms need to ensure they’re leading by example to try and close the gender split at the most senior levels in their industry.”