Women outnumber men on U.S. campuses, but lag behind in professional leadership roles. Fewer than a third of full-time professorships were held by women in 2014, while in 2011 just 27% of college presidents were female. However, new data reveals that today’s campus finance office may be a promising destination for female candidates.
COLLEGE BUSINESS OFFICERS TAKE THE LEAD
According to The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), women make up 33% of campus business officers. As these roles expand beyond spreadsheet analysis, staff members have the potential to influence other critical campus functions, from facilities management to IT.
Some female professionals who are second-wage earners may face restrictions if they're unable to relocate. Yet turning down a senior position to preserve work-life balance may be based on an inaccurate assumption since many educational institutions offer job flexibility for qualified candidates.
Executive Vice President
Finance and Operations
Medical University of South Carolina
NURTURING FEMALE TALENT
As more schools incorporate diversity into their strategic vision, they are setting recruitment targets and allocating resources to develop inclusive leadership. To retain and promote female talent, many offer career training and networking opportunities, along with family-friendly policies such as flexible and remote-work policies and childcare.
STRATEGIES FOR ADVANCEMENT
Women candidates can increase their odds for advancement in finance and accounting positions by obtaining degrees and other credentials and building critical relationships inside and outside their institutions.
According to NACUBO, 40% of senior financial officers are expected to retire in less than three years. “We have a retirement cliff on our hands,” says Marta Perez Drake, vice president of professional development at NACUBO, who says that this dramatic demographic shift will create openings not only for women but for other minority groups as well.
- Women make up more than half of undergrads, but fewer women than men hold campus staff and faculty roles
- Many universities offer training, networking and family-friendly policies that support female advancement
- Senior financial officers retiring in large numbers may yield more leadership opportunities for women and minorities