Why recruitment favours men

I write concerning the results of last week’s recent IPA “Women in Advertising” report.

There’s no mystery about male dominance in advertising if recruiters for large agencies are mostly men. Sadly, they tend to report assertiveness in potential male recruits as desirable while for their female counterparts, the same qualities are seen as “bossy” or “argumentative”.

Another great interview no-go, is that women will tend to stress that their home/social/other life is important to them. Men will tend to say that their life is work. Again male recruiters will have no difficulty reporting the women applicants as lacking “dedication” and “drive”. Of course for the board, where the stakes are even higher, the differences in sex become even more intense, leading to a policy of hiring staff in the recruiter’s image.

It’s a general viewpoint that most men see information as power and find it hard to engage in any conversation without it degenerating into ego-inflating. (Two men in conversation: one asks the other his views about a row of films that the other hasn’t seen. How long before the respondent lies and claims some knowledge about it?) Women however, communicate and compare constantly without competing for the sake of it. Not to say that women aren’t competitive, just that they don’t judge their competitiveness by the same (male) measure.

We are proud to report that SPIRIT is still doing things differently, bucking the trend. While we’re proud of our ratio, we also admit that it simply makes good business sense. We need to mirror our clients’ business environments, where women are playing an increasingly major role.

At present, and we are still expanding, our creative department stands 50-50, while in account handling and production, women outnumber the men. If you’re trying, as we are, to build an agency on convergence, then it’s imperative to fill the agency with talented, communicative team players, and more often than not, women fit the bill.

Mitch Levy

Creative Partner


Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here