There are some alarming remarks made in this week’s Accountancy Age
regarding the plight of female partners who find themselves targeted for
A highly respected lawyer points out that partners who become mothers and
work part-time, or have just returned from maternity leave are more likely to
find themselves in the sights of senior managers seeking to cull partners. Our
writer even remarks that some firms have been known to overlook the need to set
pro rata revenues targets for female partners who choose to work on a part-time
In this day and age this is unforgivable. Some practice managers are living
in the dark ages. Not only do they risk facing a claim of discrimination, they
risk damaging their own businesses. Fortunately, there are firms around that
manage their staff in a much fairer, more enlightened manner. Just as there are
examples of partners working part-time having children and still achieving
It happens and the fact that it happens means that those managers who chose
to target female partners who have children, or work part-time are dinosaurs who
have long since lost touch with prevailing business trends and ethics.
Quite simply, if you give women the right environment to work in, without
asking the impossible or creating unfair targets you will get the return just as
you would with male partners. But it means changing mind sets and accepting that
part-time working and childcare commitments constitute viable and indeed
desirable working structures.
Failure to do risks denying a firm access to the very high achievers that
would make it a success.
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