Middle East, 15TH September, 2022 – IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) today announced the release of the “Diversifying Accounting Talent in the MENA region: A Critical Imperative to Achieve Transformational Outcomes” report, the latest in a series of regional studies. The diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) research study focuses primarily on gender, nationality, and ability within the MENA region, assessing deeply rooted issues inhibiting DE&I progress within the accounting profession. Importantly, the report offers actionable solutions to help close the gap in DE&I.
The report collated responses to a survey from more than 1,100 current and former accounting professionals in the MENA region and exposes key factors contributing to the underrepresentation of diversity in the profession, particularly at the leadership levels. Ninety percent of survey respondents identified as being current or former members of the accounting profession in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.
The study found that while 66 percent of survey respondents believe the MENA accounting profession to be equitable and inclusive, these numbers dropped significantly when looking at underrepresented demographic groups.
Fewer than 35 percent of women surveyed believe that they receive equitable treatment, operate in an inclusive environment fostered by senior leadership, and have access to the same opportunities, information, support, and resources as their male counterparts.
63 percent of women across each of the surveyed MENA regions report experiencing behaviors they perceive to be rooted in bias against people like them while working in the accounting profession.
83 percent of respondents with a disability and 53 percent of female respondents have left an employer due to a lack of DE&I.
This report mirrors the insight found in IMA and IFAC’s previously released DE&I studies conducted in the Asia-Pacific, European, and United States regions: that inequitable and exclusive experiences have a direct impact on the retention of diverse talent in the professional accounting profession.
IFAC and IMA’s global research study—which pulls data from the four regional studies—found that although some DE&I progress across the jurisdictions studied has been made in recent years, the current diversity gap and inequitable and exclusive practices that exist within the profession confirm that there is more work to be done.
Participants in the series of studies believe that to enact the amount of change needed, coordinated and collaborative action is required. In response, the report presents three catalysts for action and over 70 actionable solutions that the accounting profession in every region can take to remedy the lack of equity and inclusion as a path to improving diversity.
“The voices of more than 1,100 study participants across the MENA region are amplified in this research series as they issued an urgent call-to-action to the profession’s leaders: a call for less talk and more action, for transformational initiatives that leverage the power and reach of the profession’s influence, and for an end to inequities and exclusive practices. IMA echoes the sentiments of the members of the profession, issuing a call-to-action to accounting and finance leaders and our organizational peers to partner with us to take intentional, collective action to affect the magnitude of change required to sustain the profession,” said Loreal Jiles, IMA vice president of research and thought leadership and lead researcher of this global DE&I research series.
“What we’ve learned over the last two years of this research study has been amplified by respondents in the MENA region: diversity, equity, and inclusion gaps are pushing underrepresented professional accountants to the margins of our profession,” said IFAC CFO Russell Guthrie. “Meaningful and timely action to remedy these gaps, as laid out by IFAC and IMA in our global report, will be critical to securing the future relevance and success of our profession, one that thrives on its diverse makeup and commitment to ethics.”