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Becoming a partner in the audit profession: -Does the partner recruitment process discriminate against women?
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


The audit profession used to be a profession highly dominated by men. However, this has changed but there are still few women who reach the highest position, partner. Statistics from 2013 show that female partners represent 13 percent to 20 percent in the five largest audit firms in Sweden.


The purpose of this thesis is to research if the partner recruitment process discriminates against women within the audit profession. To answer our purpose, we will study the five largest audit firms in Sweden and research how their processes work and what is required to become a partner in these firms. We will do this in order to find out if there are different expectations and preconditions for women and men within the profession. Finally we will examine how the firms work with gender equality. 

Data collection

We conducted in total 14 personal semi-structured interviews with board members, audit partners, directors, senior managers, HR personnel and auditors, both men and women. We held interviews in smaller local offices in Jönköping and in the head offices in Stockholm.


We have drawn the conclusion from our research that the partner recruitment process does discriminate against women, however mostly in the form of indirect discrimination. We conclude this because several examples indicate that the recruitment process has weaknesses and that parts of the process are inconsistent and subjective. Further, according to our findings the partner requirements are partly gender labeled and networking gives men advantages within the process. Finally, the most reasonable interpretation is that there are flaws within the gender equality work, which increases the risk that recruiters are unaware of their own biases and could therefore unconsciously discriminate against women. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 45 p.
Keyword [en]
Partner recruitment process, Audit profession, Discrimination, Women, Partner, Gender equality
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-21235OAI: diva2:623514
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Available from: 2013-06-24 Created: 2013-05-27 Last updated: 2013-06-24Bibliographically approved

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