Archive for September 2011
Welcome to the first of a series of three posts taken from a recent roundtable dinner event that we held with a number of our clients in the creative industry. Our first topic for discussion was opportunities for women in advertising.
Noticing the gender imbalance around the table over dinner, Ryan Reed, ECD at Y&R Dubai noted that gender prejudice in advertising is a “non-issue” citing Nadine Ghoussoub, current Y&R General Manager as evidence of this.
In addition, Ms. Komal Bedi Sohal, a Creative Director at Y&R Dubai is one of the regions most awarded and innovative creatives. She won a Gold Lion at Cannes this year thus proving that Middle Eastern women are receiving the highest accolades on advertising’s biggest, global stage. Check out her work! http://komalbedisohal.com/”
However, Adam Obeid, Regional Creative Director of JWT Dubai pointed out; “The demands of the region dictate the gender bias. The biggest market in the Gulf is KSA and we all know the challenges of hiring females in that part of the world.”
A German senior creative living in the Gulf commented from her experience working in Cape Town, London and Dubai: “Women have to work harder in this region to achieve recognition.” As a recruiter specialising in this market, it is undeniable that there are few women in the market, particularly in senior roles but that raises another interesting point voiced by Peter Bidenko, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett Dubai, “The work-life balance in advertising makes is difficult for some mothers to stay in the industry.”
After recruiting solely for advertising roles in the Gulf, I have never worked with a company that would prefer a male candidate over a female candidate. The only time gender has been relevant is within KSA where this is a cultural issue for women nationally when it comes to work rather than an industry specific problem. I firmly believe that advertising provides equal career opportunities for men and women. Regarding countries where women’s rights are less advanced, Morgan McKinley works with creative professionals from different backgrounds and locations to help them find opportunities across the UAE. We work with a number of industry ‘heavy weights’ and are always interested to hear from those interested in a move in advertising.