In this guest post, Mike Hill, CEO and co-founder of Puffling, argues the reason women rarely rise to the top in the advertising industry isn’t from a shortage of suitable candidates…
Two of the biggest issues plaguing the global advertising industry are a so-called talent shortage and abysmal gender diversity, particularly at the senior level.
Just think… How many times have you heard the line, “There’s just not enough good talent out there,” bandied about? And how many times has the question of senior female representation reared its ugly head in our industry? Too many, is the answer to both those questions. But we have the opportunity to do something about it.
I spoke about this at the recent 3% Conference, a celebration of women in advertising, and think it’s time for advertising agencies to take a stand.
Gender diversity is not a woman’s problem – it’s everyone’s problem. And guess what? There’s no talent shortage. What we have is a flexibility shortage. Understanding this is key to unlocking a pool of highly skilled and experienced talent that’s been sitting untapped. How do I know this? Because I was part of that latent talent pool – I was a return-to-work “mum” myself.
After selling Holler, one of the best digital agencies in the industry to spend more time with family, I faced the daunting task of seeking part time work and it was anything but easy. Finding a part-time role as a senior professional is nigh on impossible, unless you want to settle for a job where you’re overqualified and underpaid.
A solution to this that is growing in popularity is job-sharing – hiring two candidates to fill a single position – getting double the experience and breadth of skill in one role. But there’s still a stigma attached to job-sharing and most agencies haven’t fully come around the idea of flexibility.
Flexibility gives agencies the opportunity to increase productivity, attract new and more senior talent, improve their retention rates within teams and most importantly unlocks access to a largely untapped and senior talent pool.
That’s why I co-founded Puffling – a platform that pairs return-to-work mums (and dads and really anyone looking for a flexibility) to interview for job-sharing or part-time roles in the industry.
Many parents feel the only way to get the flexibility they crave is to forfeit their careers or a promotion. Our Puffling back-to-work survey revealed that 28 per cent of women took a step back in salary on returning from maternity leave. Three in four (74 per cent) respondents admitted to stress and anxiety around discussing a flexible arrangement upon their return to work.
Yet Australians are calling out for better work-life balance. Recent research from Randstad revealed that work-life balance was the top priority for workers, though employers ranked it number eight. There’s a gap in expectations and this arises from not having walked a mile in our shoes.
To truly understand the issue, you first need to experience it. So my challenge to hiring managers in agencies is to pick up a phone and try it for themselves:
- Call up a recruiter.
- Tell them you are a C suite executive. Tell them that due to some life circumstances you are looking for a role as a senior marketer and you’d like 3 days a week (listen out for the sound of eyes rolling).
- Now wait. See how many responses you get.
It all comes down to understanding the issues facing our industry, and actually doing something about it. Puffling is one of many solutions that should be explored and embraced to improve diversity across all levels of advertising. Get this right and you’ll have a competitive advantage over other businesses.
The Real Media Collective (TRMC), the Australian industry association representing the interests of companies in the paper, print, publishing/media and related distribution sectors across Australia, has challenged Coles Supermarkets for using the environment as a reason in its announcement today outlining its plans to cease sending catalogues to Australian homes from September. In the announcement, […]
Network 10 is set to undergo a massive restructure, leaving a number of high-profile journalists out of a job, including Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Natarsha Belling and Tim Bailey, B&T understands. As first reported on The Sydney Morning Herald, the restructure was announced to staff on Tuesday. As part of the restructuring, the presentation of the weekday […]
Alcohol & Drug Foundation (ADF) has launched a new national health campaign with Campaign Edge aiming to tackle COVID-19 drinking. Funded by the Australian Government, Break the Habit reveals that it takes only around 66 days to form a habit – roughly the same amount of time many Australians spent in lockdown. It’s a fact most Aussies are […]
Paul Roach (pictured below) is a business strategist and coach who has worked with hundreds of SMEs across many industries to supercharge their cashflow. Roach is also author of the book Smarter Business Stronger Cashflow. In this guest post, Roach gives his top tips when the cash taps start to be turned off… Cashflow is like […]
Sydney and Melbourne based PR, Talent & Digital agency One Daydream has extended its client portfolio to include alcohol. The category expansion comes as One Daydream joins the agency roster of Pernod Ricard, working on a project basis to manage strategic PR and digital campaigns. The global drinks group boasts one of the most comprehensive and prestigious […]
Commtract today expanded its marketing, advertising and digital offering in response to a growing number of CEOs outsourcing to ‘gig-workers’ amid COVID-19. According to new research, 40 per cent of Australian CEOs are planning on outsourcing to freelancers in the contingent workforce. Commtract, which launched in 2016, has more than 4,000 communications experts on its platform, and has already placed over 800 roles. […]