Leveling the playing field - WIRE

Around 100 women and a handful of brave men attended the meeting, kindly hosted by Linkedin.   The evening was organised by Elina Halonen who has conducted some research based on various academic studies into whether being a woman makes it more difficult to progress within our industry.  We were challenged by the statement above and I have to admit it took me a while to realise that the surgeon was the boy's mum.
I was particularly interested in Elina’s research as ENI conducted a large research study with Chime Insight and Engagement ‘Researching a Career’ that shows that one of the least attractive sides of our industry is the lack of clear career ladder.  This makes it difficult for those in the industry to know how, and what is needed to progress, for both sexes.
On the whole I have found Market Researchers to be analytical, considered and therefore fair.  So I wasn’t surprised when the first part of Elinas research showed that the respondents, taken from across market research, didn’t favour men over women when it came to salary, ‘likeability’ and chances of hiring.  In fact in all areas women did slightly better and interestingly, men in particular seemed to favour women rather than men, when it came to salary.   
The second part of the research looked at whether we describe the same traits in women and men differently.  For example are men assertive and women bossy?  As a result is it harder for women to be respected in the working environment? 
When training as a recruiter one of the things I was asked to do was list where I felt I discriminated.  Chris Brown the Talent Director of Linkedin goes one step further, his team discuss the language they use to describe different people.  We all agreed that being very open and aware of the language we use and any prejudices this reflects, really helps eliminate discrimination.
One reason for the different words to describe the different sexes, is certain traits are more commonly applied to women whilst other traits are more commonly applied to men.  I felt this wasn’t discriminatory but instead reflected the different drivers commonly found between men and women.  In the 30 years I have been recruiting women I have often found that women are more likely to be looking for quality of life, flexibility, and enjoyment.  Whereas men are more likely to be driven by financial considerations.  In the past this has held women back, but as Caroline Hayter from Acacia Avenue rightly pointed out, company culture is changing.  Millennials of both sexes are thinking more about work life balance, and this change means it is easier now for women to take family life into consideration and progress just as rapidly as men. 
Market Research employs a lot of women.  The Researching a Career study by ENI and Chime Insight and Engagement shows that a problem for the industry, is it is hugely complex and lacks clear structure, making progression more difficult.  It may be that because women are often the ones that have to juggle and cope with complexity at home, they find the lack of a career ladder within research less of a problem?

Elina’s research will be published in Impact magazine in January.

Feedback from the WIRE event

Ellie Osbourne, one of our very active supporters from Chime Insight & Engagement, attended the Women in Research session the other evening that looked at gender inequality in our workforce and its impact on recruitment in our industry - we asked her to write a few words about how she found it.

Interesting results emerging from the WIRE research into gender equality in the workforce; when it comes to equality the market research industry appears to be a level playing field. 

Susan is just as likely to be employed as Simon, and in fact there's no salary gap, they likely to be in the same salary bracket.

Our own group CIE, demonstrates the level playing field it is, with there being an almost equal gender split among its board of directors a management level typically dominated by men. 

The take out is if your launching your career in market research your gender is unlikely to hinder you, it's more about personality, the language you use and how you position yourself. Adjectives that seem to appeal to the industry when recruiting are, creative,organised and initiative; while ambitious is viewed less positively.


Interested in getting involved in a related study???????

Any women in or around London who'd like to get involved in a study looking at recruitment and career development issues in our industry (more details below), there’s a free WIRe event this coming Tuesday 10th November 6.30pm-9.30pm at the Linked In offices in London.

If you are interested in attending please visit:-

Levelling The Playing Field

What is the key to successfully marketing yourself to future employers?  Is this a level playing field or are there preconceptions that we need to be aware of?

The Irrational Agency and the MRS will be launching a new study to explore the differences that genders may face when applying for a job role.  We’re sure the findings will spark lots of debate!  We will also have a panel of industry leaders, including Caroline Hayter, co-founder of Acacia Avenue, Richard Asquith, Global CEO of Kantar Media Audiences and Chris Brown, Director of UK Talent Solutions. With many years of talent hunting between them, they'll give tips and tools for successfully positioning yourself in the market. To give you even more of a head start, we’ll have experts advice from LinkedIn to give you personal feedback and guidance on your online profile.

As well as hearing about the study, you can get involved and take part in the research yourself - here's how: 

Feel free select one or more):
1. Please take the survey - it's short, sweet and intriguing (I promise!): tinyurl.com/wirelondon
3. Send it around to your colleagues and your MR friends.
All help much appreciated, and we will share the results in due time! (We will also be able to split the results by country.) 

MRS is supporting Women in Research (WIRe) in a programme of research to determine the different elements affecting career progression within the research profession. The results of the study will be published in the January 2016 issue of Impact Magazine and will assist in the understanding of career development issues in our profession.

Even if you do not have personal experience of hiring or managing people, we still very much value your opinion. The survey includes fast-paced implicit tasks and experiments, the purpose of which will be revealed at the end of the survey.

Please note that all of your answers will be gathered on an anonymous basis and all research results will be treated confidentially.