Creative Equals programme launches to get more women back into work

The organisation has received £65,000 of Government funding to get more women who have fallen off the creative career ladder, because of maternity or carers’ leave, back into mid-to-senior-level roles.

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Creative Equals has announced a two-week programme that aims to get women who have left jobs in the creative industries back into roles.

The organisation looks to promote diversity in the creative industries through campaigns, training and giving accreditation badges to inclusive workplaces and ones that promote equality.

12% of London creative directors are women

Much of its focus is on gender equality, and increasing the representation of women in creative jobs, given that women make up only 29% of creative departments, and only 12% of London creative directors are women.

The new two-week initiative is called the “Returners” programme, and will run from 4-14 March 2019, coinciding with International Women’s Week. It aims to get 24 women, who have left jobs because of maternity leave, carers’ duties or otherwise, into mid-to-senior-level roles.

The jobs it will look at includes copywriters, user experience (UX) designers, art directors, producers, strategists, data analysts, designers and concept creatives, so the programme is tackling roles as broad as writing and design to film, strategy and research.

Two-week programme, followed by six-week placement

The programme will be run as a “bootcamp”, with the first week focused on training and “upskilling”, says the organisation, getting women on the course up to speed with the latest software and trends.

The second week will see the group tackle real briefs set by brand partners such as Lego and Facebook.

Following the two weeks, the attendees will then go on a four-to-six-week placement at a creative organisation which is a founding partner of Creative Equals. This includes WPP, Facebook, Grey London and The Dots, and participants will be supported by a coach throughout.

The project has been funded with a £65,000 grant, donated by the Government Equalities Office.

Barriers include “out-of-date portfolios” and “biased recruitment”

“Our programme is a direct response to the difficulties returning carers face when attempting to re-enter the world of work,” says Ali Hanan, founder and CEO at Creative Equals. “Just when creatives are stepping up to leadership roles, parenthood or caring duties come along.”

She adds that barriers to re-entry into creative careers “are huge”, and include out-of-date portfolios, individuals’ career gaps and a “biased recruitment sector”, plus existing bias towards men getting into creative leadership. She says that programmes such as this aim to “build more bridges back to work for creative women”.

Creative Equals is seeking women who have had an extended break from their careers and who want to “refresh their skills”. The programme is free to partake in, and a special fund will be given to women who need financial assistance throughout the duration of the programme.

Gender inequality “plain bad for business”

Tim Lindsay, CEO at D&AD, another partner organisation of Creative Equals, says that the need to diversify the creative workforce helps business as well as promotes equality. According to Creative Equals, despite only 12% of creative directors in London being women, they make 85% of purchasing decisions.

“Everyone knows now that more diverse, better gender-balanced companies outperform their competitors,” Lindsay says. “And everyone knows that our clients want us to do something about it, as they themselves are doing. Yet, criminally, we make it almost impossible for women who’ve taken a career break to return to work. [Aside from] social justice, it’s plain bad for business!”

For more information on the Creative Equals returners scheme, head here. To apply, fill out the form here.

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