- The gender split for mentees in CA ANZ’s Mentor Exchange program is 50/50, but on the mentor side it’s 70% male and 30% female.
- CA ANZ is keen for more women to volunteer as mentors and emphasises that the program is flexible and takes up less time than many women may assume.
- Career benefits for mentors include broader network opportunities and the Mentor-for-the-Mentor facility with a professional performance engagement specialist.
By Bridget Weiley
Mentoring has a well-earned place in the developmental toolbox of many professionals. Given the right circumstances, a mentoring relationship is a unique, one-on-one experience that can lead to career-changing outcomes and profound learning for both mentor and mentee.
Since 2014, CA ANZ’s Mentor Exchange program has been pairing young and early-career members with senior, experienced CAs. The Mentor Exchange has developed into a well-regarded mentoring program that delivers a rich and engaging experience for all its participants.
More than 2500 members have taken part in Mentor Exchange and registrations continue to grow. While CA ANZ is delighted with the increasing numbers of members taking part, we consistently see gender gaps in our mentor cohorts.
Each year, the gender split for mentees lands around the 50/50 mark, with about equal numbers of male and female participants. But the gender split for our mentor participants sits stubbornly around 70/30 – that’s 70% male mentors and 30% female mentors. It’s a statistic CA ANZ would like to see move to parity in future cohorts.
“Mentoring … affords mentors the opportunity to flex their management skills and work on their own development in a challenge-neutral setting.”
What stops women being mentors?
Research tells us that women can be constrained from volunteering as mentors for two main reasons – lack of time, and confidence. But the CA ANZ Mentor Exchange is more flexible than you might assume.
The CA ANZ program runs for just six months, with participants asked to meet at least four times during that period. Meeting logistics are agreed between the mentoring pairs, so you’re free to nominate times that will work within your schedule. As time is valuable, mentors should be upfront with their mentees about the time they can commit.
Mentoring also affords mentors the opportunity to flex their management skills and work on their own development in a challenge-neutral setting. Mentors can practise management behaviours they can then take back to their workplace and team. That can involve essential skills such as giving constructive advice, active listening and nurturing talent.
The career benefits for mentors
Mentoring can help chartered accountants become better leaders. CA ANZ provides its mentors with all the resources they need, including the Mentor-for-the-Mentor facility with a professional performance engagement specialist.
Mentor Exchange events also give our senior CAs the possibility of increasing social capital; networking at our introductory workshop and closing event is a great way to broaden your professional circles with other enthusiastic mentors.
There are a variety of reasons why mentees might prefer to have a woman mentor. They might be seeking a female perspective in getting ahead in male-dominated industries; looking for the inside running on managing family and career; or wanting to explore the career options that might be faced in certain industries. Having a mentor who’s already walked that path can be a game-changer.
The rewards of mentoring are diverse. For some it’s the pleasure of giving back, while other mentors see the invaluable learning opportunities. Whatever the outcome, mentoring is sure to be an enriching experience.