It’s time again for the annual “On the Rise” issue in which we feature our latest group of Emerging Leaders — 15 young men and women who are making a difference and quickly rising in the internal audit profession. Interestingly, most of this year’s Leaders are women — this at a time when, globally, women represent only 33 percent of directors or senior managers in internal auditing.
That percentage comes from The Internal Audit Foundation’s Common Body of Knowledge report, Women in Internal Auditing: Perspectives From Around the World, which also reveals that although the number of women attaining CAE positions is growing, men continue to hold most (69 percent) of the CAE roles in publicly listed companies. Will those opportunities be available in the future for the talented young women in this year’s Emerging Leaders?
“As a global profession, we need to continue to enhance support of and training for women so that they can continue to grow their skills and assume leadership roles,” IIA Global Chairman Angela Witzany said, commenting on the report. “Organizations that value gender diversity benefit from a range of perspectives that can improve their ability to identify and address strategic risks.”
Moreover, more women also apparently means more profits. A study conducted earlier this year by The Peterson Institute of International Economics and EY reveals that “having more female leaders in business can significantly increase profitability.” The report goes on to say that although “there is no statistically observable impact of having a female CEO on organizational profitability, and the impact of women’s presence on the board is not statistically robust, the importance of having female management and presumably a pipeline of female future leaders is both robust and positive.”
In “Breaking Through”, author Nancy Haig dives deeper into the report and presents some of the hurdles women face in getting ahead in internal auditing and in business in general. The idea for the article originated from the Women Rising — Succeeding in Internal Audit and Leadership session that Haig facilitated at The IIA International Conference in July in New York. According to Haig, the conversations among the participants highlighted that, although the skills needed by female and male internal auditors are virtually the same, women in the profession may face particular challenges.
The women featured in this year’s Emerging Leaders article appear to be more than ready to tackle those challenges. Congratulations to all of the 2016 Emerging Leaders — women and men — a dynamic, impressive group that is definitely on the rise.
Read Internal Auditor December 2016 "On the Rise" online