Truth | Insights


McCann Bristol  | 

Underrepresentation of women in creative departments is both a creative and commercial problem for the UK advertising industry. Only 30% of all advertising creatives are female, dropping to 11% of creative directors. We would all love to welcome more great women into these roles, but we face challenges in finding, attracting and retaining the best talent.

To help address this problem, McCann Bristol’s Head of Planning Kathryn Ellis has conducted research into the disparity between the number of women studying creative advertising, art and design, and those that actually end up working in creative departments of advertising agencies. She has investigated why up to half of qualified female talent is lost between education and a first permanent creative role.

Kat’s research found that talent loss could be prevented though a culmination of small, everyday actions that we can all do something about by changing our own behaviour. She also found that there is a complete lack of awareness amongst students and graduates that gender could inhibit their career progression, or of the related challenges they may face. Her research provides recommendations for how the advertising industry can work together with education to raise awareness of this problem and help female students better prepare for entry to industry. By saving female talent before it is lost, she believes that we can all contribute towards a more representative and positive gender ratio in future, which will boost career prospects and help the advertising industry flourish.

Kathryn is hosting a series of events which aim to get leading figures from education and industry together to save these ‘Lost Girls’. Full details of events, research and recommendations can be found online: