Two women working at a desk

The realities of being a woman in the creative industry

With 37% of creative jobs being taken by women (a rise of 9% since 2009) it’s great to see more women entering the creative industry. However, we’re still far from an equal playing field…

Let’s talk money

With research showing that men in the creative industry earn up to 26% more than women in the same roles (b2bmarketing, 2018) trying to break the glass ceiling is a task that’ll take more than one female creative. Unfortunately it’s all too common across all industries, but in particular the design one, for women to be underpaid or struggle more to get a promotion they’re deserving of. The good news however, is with more women pursuing roles in the creative industry it’s easier for us to stand up to employers if we feel we are not being appropriately paid, or be more open with our pay rate with others to bring more transparency into the money conversation. Whilst I’d argue job satisfaction is far more important than a nice pay packet, it would also be nice to be equally valued within the workplace. Luckily, there are a lot of ways you can get involved with the money conversation, from signing petitions to asking companies to openly discuss the pay gap in their workplace.

Image result for gender pay gap creative industry infographic uk

Expectations

Unfortunately when out in the workplace, many employers still find themselves getting bogged down in outdated stereotypes around gender. From small things like chastising women who need to leave early for childcare reasons but being unfazed by men taking a day off to pursue hobbies, to assigning the ‘typically feminine’ projects such as a tampon campaign to the women in the office, it’s all getting a bit boring. A woman is no less able to perform in her job if she has commitments outside of her working hours and nor should they be expected to take on the work men feel uncomfortable to complete. Challenging these assumptions will not only help women to feel more valued in the workplace, but it will also help them get involved in a diverse range of projects in the workplace instead of being seen as a one trick pony.

It’s not all bad

Whilst it can be easy to get bogged down in all the negatives of being a woman in the creative industry, there are also many perks. Along with bringing in our own unique perspectives to agencies and helping to break down unhelpful stereotypes, workplaces have become much more flexible (particularly since the pandemic began) meaning working hours are much more flexible and we have more freedom surrounding our working days and other commitments. It’s also worth noting that whilst I’ve highlighted some of the key issues within the industry, I don’t want to paint all companies in the same light. Many companies are already pursuing positive changes within their working environments, such as having multi-purpose rooms available in the office for breastfeeding or pumping and having the relevant HR resources to strive for as equal and fair a workplace as possible. Here’s to hoping this is just the beginning of a positive change across all workforces in the UK.

A great resource to get started…

As a student hoping to go into the creative industry upon graduation, one of the most useful resources I have found recently has been ‘Little Black Book’ by Otegha Uwagba. Short and sweet, this little book is jam packed with tips and tricks about getting into the industry and dealing with everything from pitching to a client to how to do your own taxes. You can find this book second hand for only a few pounds, so I would definitely recommend picking it up, even if you don’t plan on going into the creative industry as it has loads of little gems in it.

Despite it being 2021 and us being a whole lot closer to equality than even 10 years ago, there’s still a long way to go for female creatives to get the same opportunities their male counterparts seem to be handed on a plate. That being said, I am excited to join the creative industry after graduation and see for myself the impact us women can have on the creative world.