International public accounting firms have expended significant effort on gender diversity and “family-friendly” initiatives in recent years. While research in the U.S. has begun to examine the effects of these initiatives, less is known about other countries or how prospective new employees perceive the impact of gender and family status on hiring and career success. This paper reports the results of an experiment examining the perceptions of Spanish business students regarding gender and family status biases in public accounting, benchmarked against the perceptions of a comparable group of American students. Results indicate both groups of students believe such biases do exist. However, differences were found with respect to the likelihood of voluntary turnover expected of female employees. These findings are discussed in light of the dramatic changes in the socio-economic environment in Spain. Also discussed are the implications thesefindings have for other emerging countries. The results have great relevance for accounting firms both inside and outside of the U.S. with respect to the recruitment and retention of female employees.


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