It’s well known that we still live in a society where inequality exists and the data on gender balance in the Scottish economy is stark. Scotland’s gender pay gap sits at 17.5% and of the Scottish based companies in the FTSE 100, only 25% of board positions are held by women.
On the positive side, greater economic participation of women would add a staggering £17 billion to Scotland’s economy.
Progress is however on the way and the Scottish Government’s initiative to achieve 50/50 by 2020 has undoubtedly put diversity on the agenda of businesses of every size. London is often the focal point for any industry reviews with the state of play in Scotland historically receiving much less attention. This led to a group of Marketing Society Scotland members to explore further what this meant for them and their roles as employers and employees.
The Inspiring Women initiative is borne out of a recognition that as a marketing community we can all work harder to ensure greater equality in the workplace at all levels. Where there is inequality we need to understand why and most importantly take proactive steps to address it. As you will see from the case studies below there are several companies who are doing some great things in this area and I would encourage everyone to celebrate excellence and learn from what others are doing.
Next year we will continue our commitment to the Inspiring Women initiative and will be adding several new elements for members to engage with. I do hope as many of you as possible will sign up to our pledge and that this initiative will be embraced by all members of the Society, so together we can start to build a more balanced marketing community and culture.
Head of Global Brand and Marketing Communications, VisitScotland
Chair of Marketing Society Scotland
There are stereotypes of behaviour that make women very vulnerable. A man would be called a great leader and a woman would be called bossy when acting in the exact same way.Female survey respondent
Mind the Gap Scotland research
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Read our case studies from those committed to making a difference.
At ScottishPower our goal is to be a leading diverse energy company; by encouraging women into leadership roles and engineering careers, we don’t only increase a diverse and inclusive workforce but take active steps to address the deepening skills shortage in the sector. We recently conducted a review of equality, diversity and inclusion across the company to better understand the current state of our working practices and policies, identify gaps and develop an action plan, based on three key focus areas:
Inspiring and Encouraging Young People into STEM Careers
We strongly believe in raising awareness and providing support to help young people make informed choices regarding their future careers. We are committed to inspiring and encouraging young people into STEM Careers – so far through partnerships with Dumfries House, The Big Bang Events and Young Engineers & Science Clubs Scotland.
Promoting Gender Diversity
By promoting gender diversity, we can be more innovative in our working practices as well as having a positive impact in closing the gender pay gap. We are committed to driving gender diversity in the energy sector and have pledged our support through our partnership with POWERfulWomen, to advancing the professional growth and leadership development of women in the UK energy sector.
Our flexible working practices and leave policies provides an opportunity for employees to effectively integrate their working lives and career development with other responsibilities and activities, maintaining a positive balance between work and non-work commitments.
ScottishPower received the “Scottish Top Employers for Working Families” award in March this year and we will continue to build our profile as a progressive employer to help us to recruit and retain talent.
Our extensive range of provisions include:
- Flexible working patterns including part-time, job-share, compressed hours and term-time. These are viewed as a benefit to both male and female employees, with over 10% of employees working part-time being male.
- Enhanced provisions for maternity, paternity, adoption, fertility treatment and childcare vouchers.
- For Carers – paid dependency leave of up to 3 days paid leave in addition to that offered under statute and caring leave breaks of up to 6 months.
- Development breaks of up to 6 months.
- A suite of flexible benefits such as buying additional holidays, private dental/health care plans, season ticket loans, cycle to work scheme.
- In April 2015 we launched our Shared Parental Leave policy and enhanced benefits to match our maternity and adoption leave provisions.
UK HR Director
I started the Focused Women’s Network in March 2007, just after I joined RBS from IBM. Motivated by the fact that I could hardly see any senior women, we launched with a very clear purpose, and one that continues to this day – to actively attract, retain and develop talented female members of staff within RBS.
Today, the network supports the development and career advancement of all RBS employees by offering up the chance to gain personal development, to get involved in activities that will allow them to excel and challenge themselves, and to build networks internally and externally.
If I were to offer advice to anyone thinking of starting up something similar, I’d say:
- Don’t do everything yourself, find volunteers keen to take on tasks that allows the group to grow and flourish, and also offers them their own personal development by taking on roles that aren’t the ‘day job’.
- Get senior buy-in – align your group’s objectives with your business’ strategic objectives.
- Think about your launch plan – I launched on International Women’s Day as it gave us the focal point to kick this all off.
- Our network offers speaker sessions, workshops and inspirational talks – in the early days, these were pulled together from contacts and charities I knew. I called in favours to be able to present a roster of inspirational speakers to grow numbers and build support.
Today, the network has 7,500 members from across the globe, and is growing every day. I see one of our biggest achievements in that we’ve been instrumental in the change of culture within the bank. We are actively helping the organisation achieve its goal of 30% females in senior roles by 2020, and it’s hugely exciting for us all to be part of that.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Women's Network, Director of Strategic Partnerships & CPB Inclusion Initiatives, Royal Bank of Scotland
We offer all the practical things to support our employees such as flexible working days and hours and working from home. Importantly, people have to feel that by working flexibly, they are not being discounted as a ‘part-timer’.
Creating this culture has to come from the top. It also needs to be demonstrated through actions. Creating a culture that supports anyone who wants to work flexibly has been made a strategic priority of the business. We’ve also signed up to the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieve a 50/50 gender split on company boards by 2020.
None of this is easy. Managing teams of people with different working days, working hours and across numerous locations does require more effort and some creative thinking. However, we believe that creating a culture that acknowledges diverse individuals’ needs helps us to create a more diverse and therefore a smarter and more successful business.
Republic of Media
Paved With Gold was built to support makers all over the world who want to get their products into the hands of people who will love them. Our team are in London, Glasgow and Barcelona. Everyone is in full control of their workload and how they manage their time. We don’t have set working hours, allowing them to fit their work around their passions, studies or families. We use tools like Slack, email and Skype to make remote working seem not so remote. Sending out a weekly email to all our consultants, to keep them connected even if we’re not working on the same project.
Hiring, supporting and retaining women is in our DNA: we want to support a diverse, creative and exceptional team. To employers looking to retain more women in the workplace. Hire more senior women, make the changes at the top. Look for women in minor roles that can be promoted to achieve bigger and better things; pushing your company, and your colleagues forward. Create smaller teams that allow for creativity, flexibility and autonomy. Nurture your people, and you’ll nurture women.
Paved with Gold