M&C Saatchi’s Niccola Phillips: Mind The (Confidence) Gap

M&C Saatchi’s Niccola Phillips: Mind The (Confidence) Gap
SHARE
THIS



As headline sponsor of B&T’s 3% Conference Australasia, M&C Saatchi has nominated its head of art, Niccola Phillips to pen an opinion piece exploring whether creative departments are still as sexist as they appear from the outside.

Let’s be frank.

I don’t want to write this article, and you most probably don’t want to read it.

You’re probably sitting there thinking not another bloody female creative whining on about how hard it is to be a female creative. Get over it. Move on already.

And hey, I’m with you. I’m over it as well. I’m over talking about it. I’m over thinking about it. I’m also over being scared to talk about it. Dreading the comments on social media. Wondering if I’m cutting off my nose to spite my face if I choose to speak up at all.

But here’s where we’re at. According to research carried out by The Agency Circle, three in every 10 Australian creatives are female. If you’re hunting around for a female ECD, it seems that you’ll find around three in every hundred. Up on stage at industry events, you’ll see roughly half as many women as men. And if you’re wondering about the pay gap? Well, I can’t tell you much about that, because no one’s being all that transparent about it. But let’s just go with the national average and assume that female creatives are currently being paid about 23 per cent less than their male equivalents.

But now, some good news. This year, here in NSW, women comprised almost exactly half of all successful AWARD School applicants, and six of the top 10 were women. There’s a new generation of female creatives who enthusiastically and wholeheartedly want to work in our creative departments.

Problem solved, then. Given another few years, creative departments should be headed for 50:50. The statistics should just play out from there. Shouldn’t they?

Are creative departments really still as sexist as they appear from the outside? That’s the question I’ve been asked the most over my two years as AWARD School head. Clearly, even before they enter the industry, many female creatives still aren’t confident that they’ll be treated as equals in a creative department. And honestly, I struggle to know what to say, because it’s complicated.

Personally, I love my creative department, and that’s why I’ve stayed there for so long. It’s open-minded, respectful, collaborative and dependably funny. It’s ridiculous and hilarious. But not every creative department I’ve worked in has felt so comfortable.

During Power of Ten sessions, a networking initiative for female creatives run by AWARD, female creatives swap stories of ‘mansplaining’ in their creative departments; of creative directors who disregard an idea when a woman suggests it, only to applaud when it is presented again by a male colleague. One woman describes the way she has to stand up in meetings to make herself heard (fun fact: women are interrupted 33 per cent more than their male counterparts during meetings). A number of female creatives observe how they have been passed over for tier-one briefs due to ‘inexperience’, while men of the same level were given a chance to ‘cut their teeth on something big’.

Yes, women leave creative departments for a whole host of reasons. But if you listen – actually listen – the next generation of female creatives are trying to tell you that they’re not being heard right now. Today. Years before parental leave and workplace flexibility enters their thinking. A survey run by SheSays and a trade media publication earlier this year reported that almost 40 per cent of women who left creative agencies did so because they didn’t feel valued or recognised. Women are being unconsciously overlooked every day. Hell, they’re unconsciously overlooking themselves. And they’re not always confident enough to speak up about it.

Okay, I can hear you sharpening your knives. Women need to toughen up. To speak up. To push back. And I agree. They do. But in an industry where 70 per cent of female creatives report that they have personally experienced sexual discrimination in their workplace, that isn’t always easy. The confidence gap starts early. Less than one in six Australian teenage girls believe that they are given the same chances in life as boys. It’s little wonder that women won’t apply for a position or promotion until they feel that they’re 100 per cent qualified, while men are confident in their ability at about 60 per cent.

So, what can we do about it? We can do unconscious bias training. Google has rolled it out across its 60,000 employees worldwide, and they have shared their unbiasing guide online. We can offer mentoring programs, internally and externally. We can do annual salary audits. We can improve our parental leave policies and build a more flexible, inclusive working environment.

But the simplest thing that we can do is listen. Offer all our creatives equal chances and opportunities, and then be receptive to what they come up with. If the quiet ones don’t speak up immediately, offer them the floor. Ask them to speak on panels and to judge industry awards. To judge AWARD School. To write articles. Give them the confidence to push on through. Let them know they’re being heard.

Just listen. Be respectful and egalitarian, and you won’t ever have to read another article like this one.

Promise.

3% Conference banner

The 3% Conference Australasia sponsor block

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart
  • Media

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart

Zenith Sydney's Karen Halligan has pulled-up stumps, although that's not to infer bad light had anything to do with it.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands

PR agency Hotwire has rebranded, yet sadly not to "Hot Cocks Who Rock Your Socks Off". Which would've been far cooler.

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia
  • Advertising

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia

After a competitive pitching process involving five agencies, Torrens University Australia has appointed challenger agency VCCP as its new brand strategy partner and creative agency for 2018. Acclaimed for its work on dynamic brands including ING and Compare the Market in the financial services sector, Laureate Australia CMO Anne Da Cunha said VCCP’s reputation as […]

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director
  • Advertising
  • Technology

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director

AI advertising company GumGum has announced the appointment of Sarah Baskerville as its sales director for Victoria. Baskerville joins GumGum from Ansible, where she spent two years as its Melbourne mobile director. Prior to joining Ansible, she was head of specialist sales and partnerships at News Corp Australia, and also held a number of sales […]

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland

McCann Queensland’s second instalment of ‘The 5th C’ campaign launched over the weekend for online diamond retailer The Diamond Concierge, which received over 47million views around the world in the first 48 hours of it being released. In this second phase of the campaign, The Diamond Concierge gave away an $85,000 diamond ring, with Gold […]

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins
  • Marketing

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins

Digital marketing agency Sparro has announced the appointment of Hannah Jones (pictured above) as a key account director following a spate of client wins. Jones joins Sparro’s senior team alongside founders Cameron and Morris Bryant, overseeing a portfolio of accounts that includes Webjet, Domino’s Pizza, TAFE NSW, Temple & Webster, F45 Training and Bing Lee. […]

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry
  • Media

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry

In an industry facing change, Jacqui Mooney, editor of Women’s Health believes brands such as hers will continue to be a constant. Please note: this article was contributed by Magazine Networks. The magazine industry may be seeing substantial change but Jacqui Mooney has a goal that remains firm: to create happier, healthier lives for Australian women. […]

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums

Is your game chainsaws or large marlin wall-hangings? Can't seem to attract the mums? This couldn't come soon enough.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal
  • Media

Network Ten Creditors Approve CBS Deal

It seems the fight for Ten between CBS and media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon may finally be over.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice
  • Marketing
  • Media

MKTG Signs Exclusive Commercial Partnership With PlayersVoice

MKTG has announced it has signed an exclusive commercial partnership with newly-launched sports storytelling site PlayersVoice.com.au – an agreement that will see the agency move into a new territory of sports marketing. The partnership between MKTG and PlayersVoice will see the business managing brand partnership opportunities for the new platform; working with clients to deliver […]

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Domo Introduces New Data Security Software Solution

Domo has announced it has introduced new cloud security technology for its Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) software, which includes unique capabilities like rolling generation of data encryption keys and a built-in kill switch. Domo BYOK is the first BYOK enterprise software solution for cloud analytics and business intelligence, and builds on the company’s existing security, compliance and […]

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Grows Sydney & Melbourne Sales Teams

Shopper Media Group (SMG) has continued to grow its Sydney and Melbourne sales teams to keep up with the demand for Smartlite Panels for shopping centres. Ashley Munro joins SMG as group sales manager for Sydney, having previously worked in a similar role at NOVA Entertainment. Laura Mason has been appointed as SMG’s business manager […]

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
  • Advertising
  • Media

Olympics, Census Prove Tough Hurdles For Media Agencies: SMI

Australia’s media agency market has experienced another tough month in August, according to the latest data by Standard Media Index (SMI). SMI noted the softer demand this time around was primarily due to the Rio Olympics and Census providing abnormal bookings last year, resulting in demand for August 2017 so far being back 12.1 per […]