Edited by Susan Vinnicombe, Ronald J. Burke, Stacy Blake-Beard and Lynda L. Moore
Chapter 13: Women in professional services firms
Research into women’s careers has flourished in recent years and many studies in various countries, professions, political parties and organizations are available today, giving us a better understanding of their paths and challenges in a variety of professional domains and contexts. However, very few studies address women in the specific context of professional services firms (PSFs), despite the fact that PSFs have grown in importance in the last 20 years and are considered by bright and ambitious graduates to be an appealing and professionally rewarding job choice. Furthermore, increasing numbers of women are attracted to careers in PSFs. We therefore have many reasons for studying women’s careers in PSFs. This chapter is structured as follows: first, I discuss the importance of studying women’s careers in PSFs; second, I review the research into women’s careers in this specific context, from the pioneering studies through to more recent ones; third, I present a recent study into promotions to partner for women and men, this being one of the most important professional transformations in PSFs. Finally, I outline the conclusion and suggest some further research directions.
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