Knowledge Center

Women in Accounting


Women are 50.5% of all auditors, accountants, and investment professionals in Canada.1

  • The median salary and wages for women auditors, accountants, and investment professionals is C$54,960.2

  • The median salary and wages for men auditors, accountants, and investment professionals is C$68,314.3


  • Europe

    The percentage of women employed in legal and accounting activities in select European countries:4


    % Women Employed in Legal and Accounting Activities

    European Union 64.3%
    Finland 67.5%
    France 68.7%
    Germany 68.7%
    Ireland 59.0%
    Italy 64.1%
    Norway 52.9%
    Spain 58.9%
    Sweden 65.6%
    Switzerland 57.2%
    United Kingdom 54.3%

    In the UK, the percentage of woman principals at the five largest firms:5

    • PwC = 17%
    • Deloitte = 15%
    • KPMG = 13%
    • EY = 15%
    • BDO = 12%

United States

Women Are Earning More Than Half of All College Degrees in Accounting6


  • 52.1% of bachelor's degrees.

  • 52.7% of master's degrees.

  • 44.4% of Ph.Ds.

The demand for accounting graduates continues to grow, especially for Master's degree candidates.7


Women of Color Are Earning a Much Smaller Percentage of College Degrees in Accounting


Bachelor's degrees earned in accounting and related services in 2013–2014.8

  • 7.5% African American women

  • 8.1% Asian women

  • 8.2% Hispanic/Latina women


Master's degrees earned in accounting and related services 20132014.9

  • 2.8% African American women

  • 4.6% Asian women

  • 3.1% Hispanic women

More than Half of All Accountants and Auditors Are Women10


63% of all accountants and auditors in the United States are women.11

In one survey, women are 47% of all professional staff at CPA firms, but make up just 22% of partners and principals.12

The percentage of women on management committees is growing: 23% in 2015 compared to 17% in 2011.13

  • Women make up 47% of senior managers (compared to 38% in 2011).14

Women of Color Are Underrepresented in Accounting


85% of all professional staff at CPA firms are white according to AICPA.15

31% of new hires in 2013-14 were people of color.16
  • Women of color make up 16% of those employed in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services.17


Half of people of color surveyed do not feel obligated to stay at their current firm.18

  • Women of color are more likely than men of color to leave for the same money, to do similar tasks.19


The Gender Pay Gap Persists in Accounting

Women working as accountants or auditors earn a weekly median salary of $999, compared to the weekly median salary of $1,236 earned by men in the same fields.20


47% of the firms participating in MOVE (an annual survey that monitors women’s career track in accounting) now review and confirm an equitable pay starting point for all employees.21 



The Proportion of Women Studying Accounting Worldwide Has Remained Constant the Past Four Years22

The overall percentage of women studying accounting worldwide is approximately 50%.23


Additional Reading

American Institute of CPAs 

Financial Reporting Council, Key Facts and Trends in Accountancy Profession (2015).

Deepali Bagati, Retaining People Of Color: What Accounting Firms Need To Know—Women Of Color In Professional Services Series (Catalyst, 2007).

American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants

Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Accountants and Auditors," Occupational Outlook Handbook (2015).



How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Women in Accounting. New York: Catalyst, 2016.