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Understanding the gender salary gap in the auditing profession

In this new Misum Academic Insight, affiliated researcher Ting Dong looks to understand more about the gender salary gap in the Auditing Profession, using the case study of Sweden.

This Misum Academic Insight is based on the research article “Gender Salary Gap in the Auditing Profession: Trend and Explanations” published in the European Accounting Review in 2022.

The auditing profession has a longstanding history of gender inequality. The gender pay gap has been previously explained through factors such as education, and labor force participation and experience, but despite women’s advancements in these aspects, the gap has persisted. Numerous studies have indicated the presence of a ‘glass ceiling’ for women in the work force, and tactical discrimination in male-dominated professions has been put forward as important factor contributing to the barriers faced by women.

In recognition that the traditional culture of audit firms is incompatible with society’s move towards diversity and equality, leading audit firms have brought gender equality to the top of their agendas. However, the continued marginalization of women, shown through disparities in salaries, has cast doubt as to the effectiveness of these gender equality initiatives. While empirical evidence from prior studies supports the presence of a gender pay gap in the auditing profession, little is known about the size of the gap, how the gap has been developing over time, and why.

This study looks to address this void in the literature, using the case study of the auditing profession in Sweden. Within Swedish society, major reforms regarding gender equality began as early as the 1970s meaning that the Swedish setting provides insight into the magnitude of the ‘lower bound’ of the gender salary gap in the auditing profession.

Read the Misum Academic Insight here.


Research article author:

  • Ting Dong, Research Affiliate in the Accounting Frameworks Platform and Assistant Professor at the Department of Accounting.