Unconscious Bias Awareness Study

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Unconscious bias, binding the business success

The extent to which unconscious bias has an impact on our society and the professional services industry is hard to capture in full since the very nature of the problem is evasive and unintentionally cultivated for years. What can be attested with certainty is that a consequence of biased behaviours is an industry lacking diversity, particularly at higher organisational levels. Furthermore, unconscious biases constrains the career progression for certain groups of professionals and is becoming a bottleneck to diverse hiringAll of these practices gradually, but inevitably, erode a firms’ success.

At HLB we believe that it is our duty as professionals to analyse the as-is state of any matter and advise on the best steps towards the desired to-be state.  In this report, we look objectively into the current practices and identify where and why bias overtakes objectivity and what can be done to address and resolve unconscious bias within the professional services industry.

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Key findings

While the number of female public accountants has steadily increased, there is still a significant lack of female leadership within the industry. We discovered that several unconscious biases as the cause of this. One example is that the traditional career curve for women in accounting is rarely accommodating motherhood. In addition, the pressure to deliver measurable results and clock in the billable hours is another core factor that eschews the career progression curve for female CPAs.
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