In the words of the great Beyonce, girls run the world, and new stats are just adding to this notion, with research from Terri Sandy in the US showing it’s the girls who are making around 85 per cent of all purchasing decisions.
So why are females so overlooked when it comes to advertising, given it’s the women who hold the wallets and dip their credit cards into all the big ticket purchases?
A total of 91 per cent of women say they feel advertisers don’t understand them, while seven in 10 women go as far as to say they feel “alienated” by advertising.
Interestingly, and yet not all that surprising, women make 50 per cent of the purchases of “traditionally male products” (a label that’s a problem in itself), while they also control 70 per cent of the household spend in the US, from the house itself to groceries and even cars.
The research also showed that women control around 89 per cent of financial decisions, including decorating the house and booking that holiday.
Men are also overwhelmingly dominating the creative departments and their output in adland, and in London, research shows that in 2008, just 3.6 per cent of the world’s creative directors were female.
So over in the UK, The Guardian and the Young Creative Council, an organisation that supports young creatives entering the industry, put out a survey to unveil how the lack of female creative leads affect young women diving headfirst into adland.
Here are their results:
1. Eighty-eight per cent of young female creatives say they lack role models, with the industry featuring very few senior female faces to inspire fresh faced females.
This month, two of the industry’s organisations, Creative Circle and the British Interactive Media Association have signed up to pledges that call for split-gender judging panels in industry awards.
2. Seventy per cent of young female creatives say they’re yet to work with a female creative director or ECD, and other studies are showing that this trend means women are more likely to leave a job in their first year.
3. Seventy per cent of young female creatives are working in a 75 per cent male-dominated department.
4. Sixty per cent of young females say that with late nights and long hours almost considered mandatory, they don’t view advertising as a career that supports young families.
Advertising needs to provide flexible working conditions, the option to job share and what The Guardian calls a ‘returnship’ to get women who leave to come back to the industry.
5. Ten per cent of young male creatives are working in an all-male department. Enough said.
In a trend that no doubt a lot of women relate to, studies have also shown many women won’t apply for a role until they meet 100 per cent of the hiring criteria, an attitude that needs to be adjusted.
The Guardian also advocated for a stronger balance of gender in the hiring stages, with recruiters holding responsibility to put forward a gender diverse consideration set for every role.
Recruiters also need to ensure they’re using gender-neutral language and offering non-gender specific jobs.