Knowledge Center

Retaining People of Color: What Accounting Firms Need to Know—Women of Color in Professional Services Series

Download the summary.

Employee turnover and job satisfaction are critical issues for accounting firms. In this report, we address why people of color are at risk of leaving accounting firms. Additionally, we examine the factors that “push” people of color, especially women of color, out of their firms—the perceived disconnect between a firm’s commitment to diversity and the execution of the practices that support that commitment. For the first time, Catalyst is able to benchmark the experiences of women of color against other demographic groups in the workforce. Study findings show that:

  • Approximately 50 percent of people of color do not feel obligated to stay with their current firms.
  • Women of color are more likely to intend to leave for more money, to do similar tasks, than men of color.
  • Approximately 29 percent of women of color and 17 percent of men of color are at risk of leaving within the year.
  • People of color underscore organizational fit and access to informal networks as prerequisites for advancement.
  • They also highlight perceived stereotyping, double standards regarding performance, and lack of professional development opportunities as barriers to advancement.