March 8th, 2023
Why has she gone?
Did you know, of the 56% women and non-binary people making up the advertising and creative industries, 10% resigned in 2021 before reaching anywhere near retirement age? But what prompted them to leave the creative roles they fought so hard to gain, and once found so fulfilling?
It’s only by understanding the causes of the Great Resignation that we can retain more women and non-binary people. So, SheSays have conducted a survey to find out the key reasons they leave our industry and turned real people’s candid responses into a series of brutally honest resignation letters to highlight the issue for International Women’s Day. The letters released as social media posts for all to read and share, contain the often witty, sometimes tragic, usually frustrating, and unfortunately very relatable accounts of those leaving our creative industries.
Here are the five top causes given by women and non-binary people for resigning from the creative industries, and useful steps individuals and organisations can take to tackle them:
1. She didn’t get the right mental health support
Everyone has mental health, but the pressures of our industry seem to hit women and non-binary people harder, with surviving in a relentlessly male-dominated industry and balancing the demands of childcare and work seemingly to be to blame.
If you or those in your organisation are struggling with anxiety, depression, burn out, stress, or bereavement, check out this link to the Mental Health First Aid Kit for advice on better support.
2. She wasn’t able to take a pause for menopause
For women and non-binary people who are still in creative industries when they reach menopausal age, this represents another particularly tricky time. Dealing with the mental and physical challenges and changes menopause throws at us, combined with ageism, stigma, and a lack of understanding from male colleagues can be incredibly hard.
Retaining senior people and their vast experience is key to a balanced organisation and creating effective advertising for a huge segment of society. So, if you or those in your organisation are experiencing menopause and need support read How To Manage Menopause In The Workplace and if you’re an organisation you can also take the Menopause Workplace Pledge.
3. She was sick of sexual harassment
The #MeToo Movement has come a long way to call out and stand up to sexual harassment across all industries. Unfortunately, the creative industries still have a long way to go, and sadly both subtle and overt sexual harassment were cited as major reasons for women and non-binary people leaving the creative industries.
It goes without saying sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated on any level. To find out how both individuals and organisations can prevent and tackle sexual harassment read this guide Sexual Harassment Resource.
4. She hated the sexism
Sexism can take many forms; it might be being asked to pour the coffee in a meeting, it might be only being put on female brands, or it might be a company’s attitude to maternity leave. Every expression of sexism is unacceptable in 2023, and the build-up of experiences certainly contributes to women and non-binary people leaving the industry in droves.
Stopping sexism starts with being more aware of what constitutes sexism. If you’re experiencing sexism, or are an organisation trying to eradicate it, check out this great resource to help you Sexism Resource.
5. She realised racism is still rife
Racism obviously applies to men too, but being a woman or non-binary on top of being a person of colour can be doubly ostracising. It’s no surprise then, that racism is still a major reason for leaving our creative industries.
We live in a diverse world and need our creative industries to be welcoming to people of all cultures and skin colours, so that we can speak to the entire audience. If you’re experiencing racism or unconscious bias, or you’re an organisation who wants to stamp out racism and increase diversity, take a look at this resource for tips Anti Racism Resource.
How else can we keep creative women and non-binary people?
Have a great resource for tackling any of the issues causing the Great Resignation above, or indeed other issues causing women and non-binary people to leave the industry? Please send us an email with your suggestions. Share our resignation letters with your network to start the conversation and stop the Great Resignation.