June 21, 2018
Closing the gender gap in the creative industries
By: Accenture Interactive Cannes Lions 2018 Insights

The creative industries are trying to tackle the issues around gender inequality that have come to a head in the last 12 months. And at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, this has been a real focus on what the industry can learn from other sectors and what actions can be taken to get to equal.

There is a clearly a gap in the creative industries which has wide-reaching impacts for individuals as well as the industry. Liz Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Karmarama said, “Our clients often ask me whether the diversity of our talent pool reflects the diversity of their audience. Across all creative agencies this is clearly not the case, given that, according to the IPA, over 12 percent of creative directors in the industry are female, and yet 83 percent of purchasing decisions are made by women.”

Research from Accenture shows that creating a culture of equality unlocks women's potential and uncovers the key drivers of a workplace culture where everyone can advance and thrive. As Liz Wilson says, “When she rises, we all rise.”

So how can organizations close this gap and unlock benefits for everyone? Based on 30,000 interviews around the world, Accenture has identified three key areas that can help close the gender gap:

Digital fluency – the extent to which people use digital technologies in their everyday lives to connect, learn and work. Most businesses are being transformed by digital so fluency is now a requirement, but digital technologies also represent the single biggest career opportunity of the future. This is well recognized by undergraduate women—who generally enjoy online learning, social media, collaborating and communicating with colleagues. But men are still predominantly the early adopters.

What’s the solution for businesses? Get people to use digital technologies in their everyday jobs and lives to connect, learn and work together. If governments and businesses can get involved and help double the pace at which women become digitally fluent, Accenture predicts that we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed countries, and by 2060 in developing countries.

Career strategy – the need for women to aim high, make informed choices and proactively manage their careers. Career barriers come mostly as a result of women’s choices—some of which are limited by confidence and cultural acceptance.

What’s the solution for businesses? Help build confidence so women want to step forward, facilitate mentoring and leadership learning, flexible working, and focus on competence not confidence in assessment, salary reviews and promotions.

Tech immersion – the extent to which women are staying up-to-date with the latest technological developments provides an opportunity for women to acquire greater technology and stronger digital skills. By 2030, tech immersion could contribute to a five percent pay gap reduction and boost women’s income by $0.5 trillion.

What’s the solution for businesses? Encourage young women to pursue STEM subjects and to try things that offer immersion, such as taking a course in coding or computing.

“These three key factors could get us to gender equality in my lifetime, said Liz Wilson. “And if our industry applies these principles, we could reach our goals.”

Many companies are being transparent about setting targets, which can help align the whole business behind gender equality as a goal. Accenture, for example, has publicly stated that by 2020, 25 percent of its leadership will be women, and 50 percent of the workforce, by 2025. Liz Wilson suggests that more companies should do this: “We would love to see more agencies follow Accenture’s example and set a specific target. The benefits speak for themselves, and we have to act now.”

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