Chicks In High Places: Where Are All The Female ECDs?

Chicks In High Places: Where Are All The Female ECDs?
SHARE
THIS



There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be more chicks running creative departments, says Rachael Egan, executive creative director of 31ST:SECOND.

A few months back, we sent some of our creatives and suits along to Semi Permanent where they attended an all-female panel discussion presented by AWARD on the topic of ‘The Creativity Gap’.

They were surprised to find out that their ECD (me) is a rarity in the industry.

It certainly instigated a lively conversation in our creative department and hopefully has prompted the same in many other studios. In fact, it has provided an interesting topic of discussion of late amongst friends and family.

According to the Communications Council’s 2013 Salary Survey, only 23.7% of females hold roles in creative departments, of which only 13.5% have progressed to the role of creative director or executive creative director. To be fair, it’s not likely that I would be included in this specific result since, technically speaking, we are a brand activation agency, not advertising, however the numbers are still very interesting.

The results were based on Australia’s advertising workforce which interestingly showed an even gender split. Perhaps this has something to do with the traditionally strong female presence in account service roles – a result most certainly reflected at 31ST:SECOND. However, in our creative department, we are evenly split in regards to gender, with the workload at the top being shared by Dave, our creative director and myself.

As far as I can tell, there’s a stack of reasons why only a small percentage of females hold the top creative roles in our industry. Over the past few weeks, this topic has certainly got me thinking about all the chicks I know who are more than happy with their business card titles of head of design, senior art director, art director or senior designer.

I can assure you these women are damn good at their jobs and quite frankly don’t want the role of ECD or CD.

The fact is, there are more important things in life than a larger pay packet and bigger responsibilities. For these ladies, job satisfaction and a healthy work-life balance are most likely to be at the top of their list.

Many people still think that advertising is a bit of a boys club. However, from my perspective, that’s not really the case these days. Several colleagues I spoke to would prefer to stay in a more hands-on role – being involved in the actual creative development process rather than just managing staff or dealing with the big egos. Others made a conscious decision to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle by taking on a less stressful role and more flexible working hours. In addition, most of them are now mums, so “family-life” is definitely a strong influence over any “work-life” decision making. Being a founding director of our company, I decided from the start to remain as hands-on as possible and have since been fortunate enough to maintain a culture of flexibility and creative input.

The bigger issue is about achieving a gender balance in creative departments, no matter what the level.

Our core business is Shopper Activation and it’s no secret that women make up the vast majority of our audience as decision makers and family budget managers. So, even though our male creatives know how to bring out their inner female, it does make sense for there to be a more balanced creative workforce, because as Doris Day told us all those years ago, even the Magic of Aladdin couldn’t do as much as a Woman’s Touch!

Hopefully ‘The Creativity Gap’ discussion has inspired more young women to join the team and I’m hoping it opens more doors (and minds) so they can reach the top.

Of course, it’s also up to us business owners to understand the value of a balanced creative team and recognise the importance of hiring the right person for the job. The less there are females currently working in creative, then the fewer there will be that are striving for top creative roles, and the continued low number of females at ECD and CD levels.

Anyone with the talent and drive to reach a top creative role should have the opportunity to reach their goal, but it’s whether they also want the responsibilities and obligations that come with it. Money isn’t everything and career goals are different for everyone. Kudos to those females who have taken on the top jobs, and the same to those who have chosen some other role that’s right for them.

Either way, let’s hope we continue to see more chicks in high places.

By Rachael Egan, executive creative director of 31ST:SECOND

Please login with linkedin to comment

2014 Advertising & Marketing Awards Ad Recall Dentsu Aegis F4 Consulting meme

Latest News

Bangkok Thailand - August 31 2017 Facebook App on iPhone with computer laptop background closeup male hand hold social network on smart device concept.
  • Media
  • Opinion

Young Australians Will Abandon Facebook If It Doesn’t Do More To Combat Hate Speech

In this guest post, founders of The Daily Aus Sam Koslowski and Zara Seidler discuss why in order to stay in the game and keep its user, social media giant Facebook needs to do more to combat hate speech… For young Australians, Facebook is on the decline. Unless the platform better responds to its user’s […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Baskin-Robbins Australia Awarded For Stranger Things Campaign
  • Media

Baskin-Robbins Australia Awarded For Stranger Things Campaign

A brave move has paid dividends for Baskin-Robbins Australia who recently announced they won the award for Best Digital Initiative at last week’s QSR Media Awards. Baskin-Robbins Australia’s Master Licensee, Palm Oasis Ventures took a risk in launching a digital winter campaign targeting a new millennial and Gen Z demographic when it partnered with Netflix to launch season 3 of the streaming giant’s most popular show, the sci-fi horror series, Stranger Things.

TikTok Turns On Trump (Again)
  • Media

TikTok Turns On Trump (Again)

TikTok has turned on Trump once again. As yet, no one brave enough to speculate it's the work of the Chinese government.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA JULY 1, 2018: Entrance to Adobe San Francisco office location in historic Baker and Hamilton warehouse
  • Media

Convert Digital Awarded Adobe’s Magento Gold Status

Leading eCommerce website development agency, Convert Digital, has achieved the coveted Magento Gold Status from Adobe. This accomplishment has been reached following the agency’s continuing work with the Magento 2 platform - platform that is incredibly robust and offers unrivalled flexibility and scalability.

Influencers Raise $95k For Starlight Children’s Foundation In Do-Good Campaign Via Born Bred Talent
  • Campaigns

Influencers Raise $95k For Starlight Children’s Foundation In Do-Good Campaign Via Born Bred Talent

Influencer marketing agency Born Bred Talent has partnered with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to mobilise their talent roster and support the Stream Raiser campaign, contributing over $95k in donations thanks to virtual fundraising efforts.  With a combined reach of 6.2 million across Instagram, TikTok and Twitch, 9 Australian influencers contributed 76% of the $124k raised […]

UNICEF Set To Launch ClickforCovid Relief Gaming Stream
  • Advertising

UNICEF Set To Launch ClickforCovid Relief Gaming Stream

In 2020, the ‘new wave’ of youth consumers have inspired the world with their activism and fundraising, so eGEN is proud to have partnered with UNICEF, Loserfruit and friends to help gamers fight COVID and help the world’s most vulnerable children. The world’s most famous strawberry will be joined by her Click crew for a […]

Silverbullet Achieves Adobe Audience Manager Specialisation
  • Media

Silverbullet Achieves Adobe Audience Manager Specialisation

Silverbullet Data Services Group (Silverbullet), has become one of only four businesses globally to achieve Adobe Specialisation in EMEA for Adobe Audience Manager. Adobe Specialised Partners are acknowledged as the most skilled technical practitioners throughout the global partner ecosystem. Specialisations are earned after organisations achieve a level of certified expertise in an Adobe solution and […]

Businesswoman hand connecting jigsaw puzzle, Business solutions, success and strategy concept
  • Technology

General Mills Partners With Zyper To Build Virtual Superfan Communities

Food company General Mills has partnered with Zyper, a marketing platform that connects brands with their superfans, to build virtual fan communities for General Mills’ brands. As part of the agreement, General Mills will use Zyper’s software to initially identify the Betty Crocker and Fibre One brands’ top one per cent of fans on social […]

Facebook Pledges $500,000 To Group Admins Across Australia
  • Technology

Facebook Pledges $500,000 To Group Admins Across Australia

Facebook is continuing its Facebook Australia Groups Impact Fund, today announcing $500,000 in funding for the program. The grant was originally designated for bushfire recovery groups, however, has now been extended to local communities across the country who might be facing hardship. Facebook said it is on the lookout for groups that have a positive […]