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Men 'more likely to reach top of marketing sector'


While great strides have been taken in gender diversity across the marketing sector in recent years, there is still plenty more to be done, as figures from our recent Salary and Market Trend Report 2014 highlight.

Results from the study show that a greater proportion of men are reaching executive positions in the world of marketing, despite the fact that 75 per cent of the industry workers surveyed by EMR were female.

This is true of a number of professions - for instance, business secretary Vince Cable recently drafted an open letter to FTSE-listed companies urging them to ensure more women reached boardroom level in their organisation over the coming years.

However, it is especially worrying - given the preponderance of women who choose to make a career in marketing - that 18 per cent of men reach director level compared with just seven per cent of female staff.

With concerns in place around a potential skills gap and an ability to source effective leadership talent within the profession, it is clear that firms need to take steps to ensure they are focused on gender diversity. After all, this will give them a wider range of potential candidates to choose from when it comes to succession planning and promotions.

Interestingly, the gap between men and women in senior level positions is most marked between the ages of 30 and 49, lending credence to the idea that some female workers tend to focus on family rather than career at this juncture in their lives.

The government's recent decision to offer shared parental leave could change this to some extent, as could the increasing shift towards flexible working patterns - for instance, allowing a new mother to conduct her role remotely for a few months could keep her in the loop and prevent her from falling behind on her career development.

After the age of 50, the gap narrows - only two per cent more of men are in senior positions than women in this demographic, highlighting the fact that experienced, talented female staff offer as many benefits as their male counterparts.

While businesses are limited with regards to what they can do to help women stay on the career ladder rather than focus on family life, they can certainly take action when it comes to inequitable bonus systems.

Our survey indicated that 61 per cent of men received a bonus in 2013, compared with 53 per cent of women, while more male workers saw increases in the amount of money they were given.

Splashing the cash isn't necessarily the answer here - the survey also revealed that female staff tend to be paid less but be more happy with their role, suggesting that a bonus system based on career development and other non-fiscal offerings might be more suitable for driving up the performance of women within the marketing world.

Ultimately, in a competitive marketplace, businesses cannot afford to not take advantage of the skills of a major proportion of their workforce. Helping female staff develop and reach the top tier will keep them ahead of their counterparts and ensure they can pick from the biggest pool of candidates possible.

In what has traditionally been a female-friendly industry, it is to be hoped that this issue will be taken on board over the coming years.

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