A new British study has revealed what we probably already know about agency land – it has no problems attracting female talent, but promoting women into senior roles and paying them equivalent salaries to their male contemporaries is a whole other matter.
The study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) is an annual study into the advertising industry in Britain that looks at the gender balance, salary differentials and flexible working options of agencies.
Interestingly, the IPA’s annual findings appear to mirror what’s happening in Australia’s advertising landscape – there’s no problems attracting female talent out of colleges and universities, it’s retaining them and eventually promoting them into senior roles that is the real problem.
The IPA study found that 56 per cent of junior staff in UK agencies are female, however, 73 per cent of executives are men.
Only 27 percent of chair, chief executive or managing director roles are occupied by women across both advertising and media agencies, while 32 percent of other senior roles are also female, the study found.
The study found that women in senior roles in media agencies in the UK had actually fallen since 2015, while it was up three per cent to 27 per cent for creative agencies.
One of Australia’s top ECD’s Justine Armour told B&T only last week that agency land’s 24/7, “always on” culture is a massive dissuader to women, particularly those with young kids at home. “We have to create conditions where mums can compete,” Armour said. “If your clients have women’s brands and want women’s thinking, enlist their support in getting women on their business.
“Having women creatives isn’t ‘an obligation, it’s a massive opportunity’,” Armour said.
However, it wasn’t all bad news for females wanting to join their agency’s C-suite. The study found that over the last decade that there had been a marked improvement in the number of women in agency boardrooms.
The IPA also pledged to make the following happen by 2020:
- 40 per cent female representation in senior positions
- 15 per cent BAME (British black, Asian, minority, ethnic) representation in senior positions
- Help eliminate unconscious bias through training
- Raise awareness of flexible or agile working policies
IPA’s presidentTom Knox said: “The purpose of the survey and the public announcement of IPA targets for diversity is to provoke debate and to get the subject firmly onto the agenda of all agencies.
“2016 will be remembered as a year when the issue of diversity rose to the top of the agenda, but if we are to achieve our targets of gender parity, now is the time to put these thoughts into action. I would therefore urge all agencies to check out the IPA’s diversity hub for simple, immediate ways to take those all important first steps to improving industry diversity.”