Most women in Australian media remain concerned about gender equality and lack of support from industry, citing rising prejudice and discrimination as reasons for job dissatisfaction.
The Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2023 released today shows that the majority of women (54%) continue to be insecure or explicitly dissatisfied with their career progress.
Facing an industry pay gap higher than the national average*, nearly a third of women are considering leaving their jobs, with nearly half of those mid-career planning to stay on for no more than 12 months. Among older women, many are considering changing rather than maintaining their current role.
Three times more women in 2023 than in 2022 cited limited access to training/development and mental health/stress as barriers to career advancement. Dealing with bias/discrimination was five times as commonly cited as a factor in career stagnation year-over-year.
Strategy Consultant Petra Buchanan said: “We cannot ignore the continued barriers faced by women in the media industry, as revealed by the Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2023. The findings highlight deep concerns about gender equality and a lack of support from part of the industry that continues to hinder the professional advancement of women.
“The statistics speak for themselves: with a entrenched gender pay gap above the national average and an increase in bias and discrimination, nearly a third of women are considering leaving their jobs in the media. It’s a critical time for employers and the media industry to step up; the removal of women from the media is a loss that society cannot afford”.
The main findings of the Report highlight:
● 85% (▲1%) of respondents call for the introduction of gender pay controls to address the entrenched above-average pay gap in the media industry.
● 63% (▲22%) request mentorship programs to provide access to leaders and hands-on learning.
● 36% believe that being engaged or challenged in a positive way is critical to their career advancement.
● 36% (▼4%) report micro-learning to develop digital skills.
● 54% (▼4%) continue to be insecure or explicitly dissatisfied with the progress of their career.
● More than one in two women rate the media industry’s commitment to gender equality as ‘weak/very weak’.
Interim Co-President Victoria Laurie said: “Women want to work in environments where they are actively contributing, are recognized for their achievements and able to progress in their careers. This report shows a continuing dissatisfaction, especially in the middle stages of women’s careers, which needs to be addressed.
“The data clearly indicate where an effort can be made to better support women.”
A national conference on women in the media will take place in Sydney on 8 and 9 September.
Women in Media urges media employers to address the factors hindering the career paths of women in the industry. In response to the survey results, WiM identifies four key steps that would help women feel more fulfilled in their media careers.
1. Industry engagement to actively address gender equality: Employers should provide more transparency around pay and actively engage with women on issues and opportunities within their workforce.
2. Pathways to promotion: Clarifying career goals has become a more important factor in the initial rather than later stages.
3. Support from executives/direct managers: The survey identified a 22% increase in demand for access to leaders and hands-on learning such as “mentorship” programs, particularly from women in executive positions.
4. Access to Upskilling: Women are looking for opportunities to upgrade digital skills and knowledge of podcasting and social media. One in six women surveyed are interested in developing advertising knowledge, three times as many women as in 2022.
Women in Media is calling on employers to provide more transparency and engagement with the women in their ranks, to retain them and advance their careers. We look forward to continuing the discussion on how we can all better support women in Australian media.
*Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that women earn an average of $255.30 less per week than men, a gap of 13.8%. However, in the information, media and communications sector, women face a higher than average weekly wage gap of 16%.
The 2023 report gathered responses from 263 members of the organization from across Australia. It is a statistically robust sample of national data and measures the opinions of women working in media in Australia. The proportion of respondents living in each state did not differ significantly from the population proportions reported in the latest 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics census data. Survey data is based on a sample of voluntary responses with a margin of error by 5.72%.