Boardroom diversity

In the UK digital industries, women earn around £8,000 less than men on average.

Something that’s been on my mind this past week. Chatting to a close friend over dinner, she happened to mention that she had recently become aware of what her male colleagues earned and it was quite a bit more! In this day and age you wouldn’t expect this to still be the case but having looked into it a bit further this week it seems to be more prevalent than I first thought.

Although the gender pay gap has been on the decline since in the UK (2012 saw the gap officially drop to 10% for full-time workers), a recent study carried out by Econsultancy highlighted that in our industry of digital marketing, women earn around £8,000 less than men. In an already male dominated environment this makes me very sad!

It got me thinking about the reasons why this still occurred, and also why there are still less women in senior positions. There’s a digital meet up just started locally and a colleague of mine went along last week. He mentioned there was only one women present which was a shame and encouraged me to join him next month.

Is it because there is still a stigma attached to ‘part timers’? In April 2016 CIPD research identified that the proportion of females at Board level (23%) is half of those at senior management level (46%), indicating a strong barrier to those reaching the very top jobs. Some of the reasons covered were;

  • lack of women’s potential
  • stereotypes
  • an absence of role models
  • careers information and guidance
  • career breaks
  • caring responsibilities
  • full time working being the existing norm
  • a lack of talent spotting
  • a lack of mentoring

To support increasing the number of women in executive leadership roles, companies need to change the way they think and start to address these perceptions and the factors that inhibit female progression. Workplace policies and practises need to change, more investment in training is needed with a particular focus on leadership and management, and poor or inadequate practises need to stop.

So what can women do to help themselves?

Increasing your visibility across your organisation and focus on your ‘PR’ by making your accomplishments known. This leads to gaining the experience essential to moving you up into senior management. Women also need to support each other more. I’ve known some great female mentors throughout my career and it has helped me tremendously.

In April 2018 companies with over 250 employees will be required to publish data relating to pay inequalities. Data published is to include the pay and bonus figures between men and women, and will include data from April 2017. Let’s hope this addresses the inequality once and for all.


Strategic insight of the day

Reducing cost and increasing cash flow

This year CFOs top priority will be to reduce costs and increase cash flow, according to Deloitte. 36% also cited introducing new products or services and entering new markets as a key focus. This signals a trend toward more defensive strategies at board level in recent years. A contributory factor to this could be the impact Brexit has had on the UK economy and business confidence. 35% of CFOs are forecasting their capital expenditure to decrease between now and 2020 as a result of Brexit and almost two-thirds of CFOs see it as the biggest risk facing their business. Interestingly the outcome of the US election hasn’t been seen to have such an impact!




Key trends in 2017 for digital marketing

I was recently asked to contribute to a piece predicting the key trends to make an impact within the digital marketing industry this year. Always a topic of interest I thought I’d share my thoughts here.

The growing importance of customer experience

More and more brands are taking customer centricity seriously (about time!) and embarking on integrated, personalised experiences across all touch points. There’s still plenty of companies who are lagging behind in this area but it will continue to grow in its importance with consumers becoming more and more demanding, wanting an ever personalised service.

Optimising the customer experience is not just about marketing communications, it covers all aspects of business from the web site and customer service, to fulfilment and operations, to in store, to social, and so on.

The shift from conversion optimisation to personalisation

This leads on to shaping the overall customer experience. I work with many companies who have started on the journey of conversion optimisation (CRO), but many are still to embrace personalisation as an extension of their CRO programmes. I am seeing a shift in how some companies are now better integrating their insight, design and development teams which is enabling this focus on shaping the experience for their customers through utilising personalisation technology. It’s still a rather immature market but seeing strong growth and will become a key differentiator for brands who can nail it.

You can read more about my thoughts, and those of my colleagues at Fresh Egg here.