PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Dublin has launched an internal investigation after it was discovered male staff were circulating emails where they rated the looks of their female colleagues.

The investigation was prompted after pictures of a new female employee were sent around and nominated for a “Top 10”.

The original circular was sent among 17 male staff members before been forwarded to other businesses. It included the names and pictures of 13 junior female employees who had recently joined the accountancy firm as trainee accountants.

The accountancy firm which employs 2,000 people in Ireland, launched an investigation last night after they were informed of the matter.

"We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are launching a full investigation. We will take all necessary steps and actions in line with our firms polices and procedures," PWC's human resources partner Carmel O'Connor said last night.