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Solutions to the challenges faced by women in Internal Audit

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Elysia Smith and Erica Costa Audit, Permanent, Contract...

The Global Internal Audit Common Body of Knowledge completed research about Women in Internal Auditing around the world. About 15,000 respondents identified 4 key challenges women face in their workplace. I have a track record of placing many female candidates in IT and Business Audit and Paritas Recruitment experience goes back more than 7 years. I understand their perspective and would like to try and bring a change to it. On the occasion of this International Women’s Day, we are sharing some alternatives which hope could help combat these challenges identified.

Challenge 1: For many women, it is difficult to juggle family responsibilities with a fast-paced, often travel-intensive career in internal audit.

Solution: Employers are starting to offer work from home options and contractual options for flexible working, especially for employees with a young family. Additionally agile working initiatives by our clients are assisting employees to cope with ever varying family responsibilities, further studies or even hobbies. Nowadays flexible working arrangements are becoming a part of modern day life, make sure your employer is on board with this.

Challenge 2: Women are often less assertive than men, and can lack the competitive drive that is necessary to advance in the profession.

Solution: Effective mentoring can be a key tool to help female internal auditors develop and direct their careers in the right direction. Do find an effective mentor – whom can also be a sounding block to discuss future career moves and be there throughout your career journey. At Paritas Recruitment, we have a diverse female employee base (40% female) which helps us relate better with the female candidates whom approach us.

Challenge 3: Cultural norms play a role in the acceptance of women in the workforce and in management positions.

Solution: Our clients have recognised the need to have a diverse workforce and leadership teams as it yields better results for their company. McKinsey and Co’s latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. We are now working with clients who have strong gender equality targets for senior and junior positions. Together with our clients we are trying combat this cultural norm by reaching out to as many female auditors as possible and looking at how we can assist them in progressing their careers.

Challenge 4: Women are sometimes believed to be less adept than men at office politics, which may put them at a disadvantage for career advancement and growth opportunities

Solution: “Office politics” often has a negative connotation; however, it should not necessarily be negative. Indeed, some academic research has concluded that there are four competencies necessary for positive political influence: (1) social astuteness, (2) interpersonal influence, (3) networking ability, and (4) sincerity. These competencies do not seem to be unusual for women, therefore a slight change in mindset may be all that’s needed to combat this challenge.

If you are a female working in the audit arena and would like to discuss your career ambitions and what opportunities we are working on which could enhance your career / work life balance, then please do not hesitate to contact either Erica Costa at erica@paritasrecruitment.com or me at elysia@paritasrecruitment.com