Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management
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Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management

Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management provides an international overview of current practice and theory surrounding gendered employment in management, illustrating the impact of gender on key stages of career development.
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Chapter 23: Back to the future: a gendered analysis of ‘getting on’ in the professional services firm

Savita Kumra


This chapter discusses career advancement from a gendered perspective by presenting evidence in respect of the gendered issues evident in women’s ability to advance their careers in the professional services firm (PSF). Though the increasing number of women entering the professional services has been remarked upon for a number of years, their ability to ‘get on’, particularly to the most senior levels in their firms, that is, partner level, remains stubbornly low. This chapter explores why this is the case. It begins with a reflection on key issues in the field as the number of women within PSFs began to rise. At the time, little attention had been paid to the promotion to partner process and its potentially gendered nature. Analysis of the available literature revealed that career advancement within professional services was presented in a straightforward and seemingly rational manner – those with the appropriate human capital to enter the profession, who worked hard and performed to the appropriate level, would be rewarded with advancement.

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