Equality – it’s not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue

It’s Friday of International Women’s Week and the last opportunity for us to share something on Croc channels before International Women’s Day this Sunday.

We usually manage to get our act together at the last minute to create a nice piece of video content. This year… we’ve got nothing.

Everyone has been flat out, working on the many complex and demanding projects we have on, preparing for pitches, or grappling with the significant HR and operational challenges that come with growth.

In less than two years, we’ve expanded our headcount from 25 to 45. This is the largest we’ve ever been and as we’ve grown, we’ve paused to consider the type of business we want to become.

Delivering through diversity

Diversity in the marketing industry has been high on the agenda for years. Some of the biggest brands in the world including Verizon, Diageo, HP, and Unilever have made headlines with calls for faster progress on diversity and inclusion (D&I).

Since McKinsey published its original Why Diversity Matters report in 2015, there has been a growing awareness of the benefits of D&I in the workplace. Often cited, the research has influenced cultural change efforts and policy-setting across many sectors and business types. Yet real progress has been slow.

A recent IPA Diversity report reveals that just 31% of C-suite roles at UK ad agencies are held by women, while women make up only 16% of creative directors. This is in spite of the fact that the typical gender split of junior designers in creative, digital and media is 60:40 in favour of women.

While these numbers highlight a systemic problem in the industry of bias in career progression structures, the business case for gender diversity and inclusive cultures is overwhelming.

McKinsey’s 2018 Delivery through Diversity report found that companies in the top-quartile for gender diversity on their senior teams were 21% more likely to have above-average profitability.

A survey conducted by the independent think tank, Pew Research, reveals a number of key business areas where women typically outperform their male counterparts:

  • 34% better at working out compromises
  • 25% more likely to stand up for their beliefs
  • 25% better at mentoring
  • 34% more likely to be honest and ethical

According to the same research, where men outperform women is in their willingness to take risks and in negotiating profitable deals – characteristics that are of course fundamental to any business’s success. What we see in these findings is that men and women bring different, complementary qualities to the table – and it’s in the alchemy of how these traits and characteristics combine that we see a true and sustainable performance advantage emerge.

The power of difference

At The Crocodile, we’ve long believed that an inclusive culture drives innovation, creativity, and happiness. 2020 marks 30 years since the agency was founded and over the years we have greatly benefited from strong female leadership. I’m talking about you Sandy Kareliussen, Astrid Johnson, Laura Clarke, Sandi Wassmer, Fiona Stevens, Gonca Bengherbia, Kate Miller, Rachel Evans!

That’s why this International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the brilliant women who have contributed to our success over many years in business, as well as the extraordinary female talent we have in the agency today – and the future leaders these women will go on to be.

As we continue to grow, we are committed to further embedding D&I into our agency road map and to creating an environment where everyone can participate and flourish through the power of collective individualism. By recognising that we are all part of a whole and that our individual actions, behaviours, and mindsets have an impact on society at large, we can come together to make change happen.