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.