Put yourself forward for Creative Equals and Campaign's Future Leaders

In creative departments, there is progress, but it's not fast enough.

Some of last year's winners
Some of last year's winners

This is the list of lists. We know it is career fuel. Women who have featured on last year’s list have had their profile put in the spotlight – and, as a consequence, they are celebrated within their own companies and within the wider industry. In partnership with Campaign, our aim is to create positive, tangible change by highlighting the talent pushing through to the top. Read on to find out why this is not just a celebration, but also business critical. 

This is the week of International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is "Better with balance", but the fact is in creative departments, there is progress, but it’s not fast enough.

Creative women are 2.5 times less likely than their male counterparts to be in a senior creative role. 

There is no better time to be in this industry as it is in transition, figuring out new ways of working and fresh agency models. With ads like Nike’s "Dream crazier", we’re seeing creative work resonating in a more powerful way than ever before. The same has to happen on our shop floors. At mid-level, women outnumber men, but just 11% are in a senior role compared with their male colleagues. Our data shows in the past year, an equal number of women have been promoted. To achieve parity this number needs to be way higher. Every company needs to provide transparent career paths – today.

More than half of women are planning to leave their companies in the next two years.

And 12% of creative women are planning to leave the industry. Yes, we are facing a huge retention issue. Here’s why: only 25% of creative women have a female line manager. That means 75% of their line managers are male. The biases they face are real. Creative women tell us they are less likely to receive regular feedback, they feel less valued and are less likely to have a strong relationship with their line managers. What’s the solution? We need to train all creative leaders (and particularly men) in how to be better managers. That means creative leaders (who often don’t receive this kind of training) need to know how to give meaningful, consistent feedback. Line managers require inclusivity training, training in ‘radical candour’, how to understand their own biases and how to work with women as they transition through motherhood. This is creativity critical.

Women's creative work is 10% less likely to be submitted for awards.

Just 25% of creative women have had their work submitted for awards, compared with 35% of men. As promotions are often based on the capacity to win awards for a company, this means they are also less likely to be put in the promotion line. Here’s what to do next. Track and monitor who is gaining briefs and key assignments – and make sure bias is removed from the way they are allocated. Often we see women, particularly mothers, are put on the ‘safe’, stable accounts, where there is less opportunity to shape award-winning work. Every creative shop floor needs to stop and examine its current system and how bias comes into play throughout it.  

So for all these reasons, this list is more important than ever. Let’s create the next list of lists, where all those female creatives are given a platform to be celebrated. Let’s show that as an industry we can be – to use the International Women’s Day slogan – #BetterWithBalance.

Copywriters, art directors, designers, content makers, associate and creative directors, kick-ass UX designers and anyself-identifying woman with a creative heartland, who will trailblaze and lead this industry forwards, apply now.

The deadline for entries is Tuesday 19 March.