In response to a recent University of New England study, which revealed entrenched levels of discrimination in regional and metropolitan firms, Walker Wayland Australasia chairman John Dorazio said he has never witnessed gender-based wage discrimination in his time in the industry.
“What I have seen is people rewarded for their production,” said Mr Dorazio.
“If you compare a female manager accountant with a male director, there is obviously a salary difference. However, all directors or senior people earn an equivalent wage. That goes for all 14 firms in our group – Australia and New Zealand, capital city and regional.”
Mr Dorazio, a director at Walker Wayland WA, based in Perth, said women were taking increasingly more prominent roles in accounting firms.
"This reflects the generational change that is running through the profession," he said.
"Fifteen or 20 years ago, it was a male-dominated profession in terms of pure numbers. That has changed and we are seeing many more women completing accounting degrees and working in our profession.
"Ten or 15 years ago there would have been virtually no women at partner or director level. Today, more than a quarter of these senior roles within the Walker Wayland network are held by women – and the percentage is growing."
Mr Dorazio added that any firm that discriminates based on gender – whether overtly or through age-old practice – should be named and shamed.
"There is no place for those attitudes in our profession – or anywhere in Australian society," he said.
Readers of SMSF Adviser’s sister publication, AccountantsDaily, echoed Mr Dorazio's thoughts, with one indicating that the results of the survey seemingly ignored the fact that male staff are increasingly taking time away from work for family commitments.
“The attitude of some of the dinosaurs in this study beggars belief.”
Another reader urged female accountants not to be deterred by the research and to enter the profession.
“What a load of rubbish. I would implore young women not to become trapped in this mindset and start thinking for themselves. If you want to move up the ladder, do so. It won’t be easy and choices will have to be made, but that will be the same no matter who you are.”