Percentage of women in media agency management positions rises to 44% in latest MFA census

The number of women in media agency management positions has risen seven percentage points to 44%, according to the Media Federation of Australia’s (MFA) annual industry census, released today.

For the purpose of the census, ‘management positions’ include: CEO, chair, managing director, general manager and heads or leads of departments. 34% of media agency CEOs – and 61% of media agency employees overall – are women. In the average Australian workplace, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found that women hold just 30% of key management positions.

The MFA census 2020 results. Source: MFA [Click to enlarge]

21.8% pay gap women in broadcasting roles facenational pay gap that remains at 13.9%, as measured by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Last week, the MFA announced its 2020 board, with CEO Sophie Madden paying particular attention to the gender split, stating that she’s “proud of the diversity of the MFA board, including an equal split of men and women, reflecting our industry’s strong gender equality scorecard”.

Of the census results, Madden said she is pleased the outlook for women working in media agencies is improving.

“From the growing population to greater experience, more flexibility and more women coming up the ranks, there are so many positive outcomes in our annual health check,” she said.

“It demonstrates that our members are listening to what is important, to both their staff and their clients.”

The MFA census 2020 results. Source: MFA [Click to enlarge]

Turnover remained stable, with regrettable loss sitting at 27.2% and non-regrettable loss dropping to 6.7% from the year prior’s 9%. Notably, however, the vast majority of regrettable loss involved people leaving the industry altogether.

A significant 11.5% of regrettable loss was people leaving the industry, rather than switching to work at a media owner (1.4%), client (1.9%), creative agency (0.8%), or travelling (2.5%). Leaving the industry could be driven by factors including lifestyle, career change, study, or retirement. 9.1% of those choosing to leave went to a competitor agency or a sister agency within the same holding group.

MFA CEO Sophie Madden

MFA chair Peter Horgan, who was last week re-elected to serve for a further two years, said the overall results are promising for an industry that has grown in numbers despite tough economic conditions and a weak ad spend market.

“The MFA’s annual Census provides an important snapshot of the health of media agencies, and it’s encouraging to see such a positive picture emerge,” Horgan said.

“I believe the continued growth of media agencies in the face of increased business pressures demonstrates the diligent effort we’ve put in as an industry to evolve the media agency model and better meet our clients’ needs. It’s great to see the hard work delivering results.”

Working from home options are proving widespread, with 98% of respondents saying they have the opportunity to do so. Just 8% of the industry works part time, but the MFA noted part time work is spread across all levels of seniority.

The level of experience in media agencies is also on the rise, with a year-on-year jump in the number of people with six to 10 years’ experience. The number of those with more than 20 years’ experience has doubled over the past three years, meaning employees with under five years’ experience has dropped from 49% to 46%.

Accordingly, the average media agency employee is a 31.8-year-old woman with 8.1 years’ experience and 3.4 years’ tenure at her current agency.


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