What advice would you give to young female creatives about to enter the advertising industry? Lisa Blythman-Wood, VML London's associate creative director, who heads the agency's involvement in the D&AD New Blood initiative, offers her opinion.
Unless, of course, you're a woman...
Obviously not every woman who enters our industry will come up against sexism or gender discrimination in their first few jobs, but a hell of a lot will.
The poor ratio of male to female creative directors in the industry right now is hard to ignore and day to day sexism has a lot to do with it.
Here’s some advice to get past the day to day gender issues and discrimination to make sure you don’t thrown off your career path as you’re starting out.
Out and out sexism
Gender discrimination can be blatantly obvious, or it can be so ingrained in a culture that it is part of everyday conversation. You could see male colleagues favoured over female ones, hear casual sexist remarks made in the office or about people you know, or discover a very real gender pay gap in the agency.
Either way, if you think it's an issue that's affecting your life at work then you need to raise it.
The trick is to have the confidence to recognise it and tackle it head-on in a way that feels safe. If you don't feel like you can talk to your line manager about it, then either go to a senior member of staff who you feel you have a good relationship with and who will be able to professionally advise you – this is really important, you do not want to look like you're trying to slag someone off – or just make a beeline for HR.
Find a mentor
It will become painfully obvious fairly early on that there are more senior male creatives than there are female ones. This isn't going to change until more entry-level women stay in the industry and keep climbing until they get to the top – and everyone needs help and advice with this along the way.
Whether you're in an agency with a mixed management team and an open-minded culture or an agency with an all-male senior line-up, find yourself a mentor.
It doesn't matter what gender your mentor is, it just matters that they give you the help and advice that you need to help you along when you come up against challenges affecting your work or career progression.
Push for recognition
You could do the best work of your life, work the longest hours you've ever done in a job and give up your weekends to campaigns too, but that doesn't mean you'll necessarily get recognised for it or remunerated accordingly.
Don't expect your employer to see all your hard work and just give you the money you deserve. Use your performance and pay reviews to tell your superiors what you have achieved, why you're proud of your work, and how you successfully overcame the challenges facing you to get the results you did to prove why you deserve a promotion or pay rise.It's only fair.
Lisa Blythman-Wood is the associate creative director at VML London, which is a mentor agency for the D&AD New Blood initiative
Read the whole article from Campaign