Industry of Mad Men? New figures show women represent a quarter of creatives, 70% of suits

MadmenWomen represent just a quarter of staff in creative departments according to The Communications Council’s latest Salary Survey, with just 13.5 per cent of senior creative positions occupied by females.

The survey, which comprises data from 115 agencies nationally across 81 positions which equates to approximately 85 per cent of market shows just 27.9 per cent of digital teams are women, with one third, 33.3 per cent, of those women in senior positions.

In account management women make up 70.2 per cent of the workforce, according to the data collected by The Communications Council, an 53 per cent of the leaders, while men only account for 29.8 per cent of those currently working in the discipline, but 46.4 per cent of the top jobs.

Production and strategic planning are starting to balance out, with 43.6 per cent of those employed in strategy women and 41.1 per cent of those working in production women.

Media has seen the pendulum swing the other way, similar to account management, with women representing 61.9 per cent of the departments and 60 per cent of that number are in senior positions.

The results of the Communications Council’s gender survey supports that of a smaller survey conducted by Mumbrella which aimed to gain a snapshot of the creative industry’s gender balance.

Mumbrella conducted a survey of 17 network and independent agencies across Sydney and Melbourne, with one Brisbane agency amongst those surveyed, with the data accounting for 264 creative employees, 79 of which were women.

According to the data collected by Mumbrella, network agencies unsurprisingly account for the greater number of creatives employed, with them consequently accounting for a greater number of women employed: 25.75 per cent of  female creatives are employed by network agencies while the independents surveyed account for 4.16 per cent of female creatives.

“Women are the minority in creative departments in general. But I can see the numbers coming through AWARD School being much more balanced – a great indication for the future,” a respondent to the Mumbrella survey said.

“I think a good creative department needs diversity of experiences. There’s no point employing a bunch of creatives that are all the same. So having a spread of guys and girls of different ages and backgrounds brings different thinking to the briefs.”

However, while it may be a good idea to have a spread of both men and women of different ages, the bulk of women currently working in creative departments fall in the 30 – 40 age group, with the 25 – 30 age group not far behind, according to the Mumbrella survey.

Women aged 30 – 40 account for 36.7 per cent of female creatives, while those aged 25 – 30 account for 27.84 per cent, the Mumbrella survey revealed. Women aged 20 – 25 account for 21.51 per cent of those employed while women 40 and older account for a small 7.59 per cent.

Sydney and Melbourne agency gender breakdownExamining Sydney and Melbourne agencies, the Mumbrella survey revealed that Sydney agencies employ more women than their Melbourne counterparts, with women representing 31.2 per cent of creatives employed in the harbour city while women only represent 22.8 per cent of creative agencies in the Victorian capital.

Interestingly, when comparing networked and independent agencies in both Sydney and Melbourne, the cities present the reverse of each other. In Melbourne, the independent agencies have a greater ratio of women in their creative departments when compared to the city’s network agencies, according to data collected in the Mumbrella survey.

Women represent 30 per cent of the independent creative departments while only representing 18.91 per cent of the network creative departments, the Mumbrella survey revealed. In Sydney, women represent 34.59 per cent of creatives within network agencies and just 17.5 per cent of the independent creative departments surveyed.

Not all agencies provided the breakdown on the employment of their creative departments relating to full time or part time statuses, but  the data collected the Mumbrella survey suggests its more common for women than to be working flexibly or part time with 8.1 per cent of female creatives work part time while, only 1.7 per cent of male creatives are currently working part time.

Mumbrella spoke to some senior women who have or are currently working in Australia to get their views on the survey. See what they have to say here.

Miranda Ward


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.