#EventCareers: Percentage of male MDs falls to 67%

This year's poll revealed a higher percentage of female MDs than our 2015 findings (photo credit: Alex White)
This year's poll revealed a higher percentage of female MDs than our 2015 findings (photo credit: Alex White)

Two-thirds of managing directors in the brand experience industry are male, according to the 2016 #EventCareers survey, a 9% decline on the 2015 poll figures (76%).

The survey, carried out across December and January, found that despite the high proportion of women who took part in the research compared to men, only 3% of the females surveyed were currently at MD level, compared to 39% of male respondents, with 33% of all MDs polled female.

All of the MDs who took part in the survey stated that they earned more than £70k, which is a marked change on last year’s results, which showed that only 59% of MDs earned more than £70k.

Overall 12% of brand experience professionals earn more than £70k - 8% of women and 30% of men.

Industry reaction

Will Mould, managing director, XYZ, said he was initially surprised by how high the percentage of male MDs was "as I know lots of agencies with female MDs and would have thought it was a fairly even split." 

However he pointed out that production agencies, including suppliers of AV and crew, for example, are traditionally more male dominated "and may well have skewed the percentages".

"I think that if you asked purely event agencies then it would be much more even, if not more female biased," he added.

Jane Baker, commercial director at 2heads, commented: "I’m glad to see the Event Careers survey shows an increasing number of female MDs in our industry. It does not yet represent a 50/50 split, nor does it reflect the proportions of men/women in the events sector, however a 9% shift in one year should certainly be welcomed and celebrated as positive progress."

Celia Forshew, founder and CEO of Seed Marketing said it was "excellent and promising news to see a significant leap in the amount of female MDs". "Of course there is more to do here, but I’m warmed and encouraged by the results".

Money matters

Regarding MDs salaries, Mould added: "I’ve never seen or experienced a pay difference between male and female colleagues during my career in events, so it doesn’t surprise me that they are all over the £70k mark. It’s also a reflection of the growing importance of experiential and it being treated seriously as a much valued marketing discipline."

While Forshew commented: "I would like to think growth like this reflects a sector doing well and investing in its people. We are certainly feeling that at Seed, as are many of our peers."

She added that the fact both sexes at MD level are earning more than £70k is not so much about equality, "but more about the success of the sector on the whole; but certainly the leap in female in MDs is a very positive sign."

Earlier this month we revealed that 35% of brand experience professionals did not had a pay rise last year - down 6% on 2014’s figures, while 45% were on the lookout for a new job.

More: The pay gap debate: what can the Rooftop Film Club's initiative do for the industry

Industry welcomes gender pay reveal

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