Our thoughts and advice on International Women’s Day

Our thoughts and advice on International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a celebration. It’s a day that’s dedicated to championing the rights and achievements of women all over the world, but each year it also highlights the work that still needs to be done to overturn injustice and protest the gender pay gap.

In the #TimesUp and #MeToo world that we’re living in, there’s more momentum than ever to strive for progress, and whilst it won’t happen overnight, women all over the world are Pressing for Progress particularly today and every day after that.

This year for IWD 2018, we asked the men and women of MSL to share their experiences and advice of working in the communications industry. We have crowdsourced their comments to offer advice for women beginning their careers but also for the communications industry itself.

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Photo by Publicis UK

Advice to women starting out in the industry

  • Find a mentor – be that male or female – someone you trust and look up to who can help you navigate the politics and complexities of the world of work.
  • Negotiate your first job's starting salary. If you don’t, by the end of your career it could end up costing you £360k in comparison to your male counterparts!
  • There’s a myth that other women are women’s worst enemies but I’ve never experienced anything but support and positivity from female colleagues I’ve worked with. Don’t believe it!
  • A career is a marathon, not a sprint. Take time to learn the basics, and learn to do them really well. You are laying the foundations for future success.
  • It’s a small industry. Your personal brand and reputation matters.
  • Trust your ideas and make things happen. If your idea is commercially viable and aligned with business objectives then it doesn’t matter if you are an intern or MD. You create your own opportunities and if you make a mistake, it’s OK. Making mistakes is an important part of learning in any business.
  • Do your homework. It’s critical to research a potential employer, not just the role. What are their values? Read a company’s Gender Pay Gap Report, check their social channels, and don’t be afraid to ask questions at interview.

Don’t confuse plain speaking with being pushy. If you feel you deserve something or should be considered for something – say. All too often women are conditioned not to ask or speak up and if we are going to achieve gender parity we need to speak our minds.

Andi Donovan, Consumer MD

After a decade of working I finally went on some training this year that wasn’t skills based but all to do with MY development. It was run by RADA in Business and I wish I’d had access to it earlier in my career. Make time for your development and be eager to learn.

Claire Hutchings, Marketing Manager

Advice to the communications industry

  • Invest in your people and your culture. HR teams within agencies should be demanding more from their leaders and pushing boundaries for their people in the same way their account teams push them for their clients.
  • Whilst agencies are well known for providing surplus soft benefits like Friday drinks trollies and free breakfasts, they need to not forget the harder benefits that actually make is possible for women to return to work after starting families, or the basics like formal appraisal systems to ensure that men and women are able to progress in their careers on a level playing field.
  • Candidates have unprecedented access to data. They can (and should) dig into your companies culture and benefits, therefore you must align to their expectations and those of the market to be able to attract and retain top talent.

Diversity and inclusion open amazing doors of opportunity for us all, they are intrinsic to business success and should always be at the heart of what we do.

Elle Llewellyn, Senior Account Manager

Only 11% of Creative Directors in the UK are women. In an industry with such a rich vein of young male and female talent, the PR industry needs to rebalance these numbers. We need to ensure our work cultures are welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds, including flexi-working and part-time roles, that there are clear progression routes for all and role models mid-career women can aspire to.

Susi O'Neill, Content Strategy Director

International Women’s Day is just one day a year where we champion the achievements of women in order to strive for gender parity. Let’s #PressForProgress every day. It is the responsibility of all of us.



Claire Hutchings

Head of Marketing

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