Hays UK jobs and employment blog


3 ways to improve the gender balance in marketing

By Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Retail and Sales, UK&I

There is no shortage of literature that highlights the benefits of a gender balanced workplace. Our own Hays Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018 asked respondents which areas they believe greater diversity could have the most positive impact on. Top of the list for marketers was an improved company culture. A further third of marketers also told us that greater workplace diversity means an organisation is better able to recruit the best talent.

With employment rates at a record high, competition for talent is fierce amongst employers and a better diversity balance should therefore be top of the agenda for all employers – not just those of marketing professionals.

Conflicting perceptions of career progression

The marketing profession is often viewed as being more gender balanced than other professions, but does this mean that female marketers feel there is a positive balance in their own organisation? Our survey showed that over three-quarters of female marketing professionals have felt that their chances for career progression have been limited due to their sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, gender or disability, and of these, two-thirds said it was because of their gender.

Gender bias is also being felt when applying for a new role. 65% of both male and female marketers have experienced an occasion when they have felt their chances of being accepted for a job have been lowered because of their sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, gender or disability. Of these, almost half of women say it was due to their gender compared to 18% of men.

Balancing for better in your marketing team

So what can you do to bring better balance in your own marketing team and ensure all team members feel empowered to achieve their full potential?

1. Raise your awareness of negative perceptions – While many marketing leaders would be quick to denounce any suggestion that a team member’s career progression or pay would be limited because of their gender, this does not mean that perceptions do not exist in the wider team. Open channels of communication to ensure your employees feel confident in expressing these sentiments and respond to any feedback where appropriate.

2. Train managers to mitigate bias – Put in place regular training sessions for managers to help mitigate unconscious bias on employee career progression. Investing in ongoing training will ensure employees are able to reach their full potential at your organisation and help to retain top talent.

3. Prioritise clear career progression – Clearly defining career progression pathways and transparent objectives makes employees more aware that their progression will be based on their performance which will be assessed on merit alone rather than any other factor.

Although we are starting to see improvements in gender diversity, we all have a part to play to continue this journey. View our diversity page for more insights from Hays experts, and to get the latest Hays UK Diversity & Inclusion report.

About this author

Over her last ten years at Hays, Clare has developed a detailed understanding of creative and customer focussed industries and the talent they need to succeed. She is a believer that great behaviour drives the culture of the business and allows the customer experience to be one of the highest quality.


Diversity in the workplace

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Report 2021

In this year’s report, we investigate if conversations about ED&I are leading to meaningful change and making a real difference to people’s working lives.


Hays Thrive

Free staff diversity training

Sign up to Hays Thrive so your team can benefit from our Diversity & Inclusion package – as well as dozens more free training courses.

Sign up now


My Learning

My Learning

My Learning is your portal for free training courses to support you throughout your career and get you market-ready for your next job search.


Job search

Search for a job

Looking for a new role? Search here for your ideal job or get in touch with one of our expert consultants.


Register a job

Register a vacancy

Have a vacancy? Fill in your details here.


Contact us

Find your nearest Hays office

Hays has offices across the whole of the UK. Contact us to discuss your employment needs.