Women rise up as agency staff soar

The number of women holding senior roles in UK agencies has surged by 60% during the past year, according to the IPA Census, which also shows staff numbers have reached a 52-year high, despite the current economic mess.
Women now account for 21.5% of the 515 executives designated as chair, chief executive or managing director at a UK agency, covering direct, digital, media and advertising businesses; last year the figure was 13.5%.
The figures show that 111 of the top roles are now held by women; last year just 56 women held the most senior positions. Women holding “other executive management” positions climbed to 28% (from 27.3% in 2011) of the 706 executives in the category.
Many of the top DM agencies are headed up by women, with Mel Cruickshank at Wunderman, Annette King at OgilvyOne (both pictured), Tash Whitmey at Havas EHS, Lou Barber at Proximity London, and Vonnie Alexander at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas among the leaders.
Agency-land is bucking the national trend, with only two women at the top of FTSE 100 listed companies.
When it comes to the industry at large, the total number of people employed went up 5.8% year-on-year from 19,372 to 20,491. This is the highest level in the 52 years of the census.
The obsession with youth shows no signs of abating, with the average age of employees in all IPA member agencies being 34, although it is even younger in media shops at 31. Meanwhile, most people in executive management positions are aged 31-40, although 2% are under 30. Just 14.3% of agency staff are aged between 40 and 50; 5.5% over 50 – virtually the same as last year.
Ethnic diversity also improved over the past year. While it is still overwhelmingly white, at 89.4%, those from a non-white background rose to 10.6%. This is a 12.8% year-on-year increase over the 9.4% of the industry accounted for by non-white staff in last year’s report.
Nicola Mendelsohn, the IPA president, said: “It’s terrific to see that the number of employees in advertising is at its highest level since records began. Moreover, as the first female president of the IPA, I find it extremely encouraging to see the percentage of women in senior management positions on the increase like this.”

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