Older women in leadership

More Women CMOs, Fewer Women Running Agencies

According to a recent article in AdAge.com, nearly half of all marketing leadership roles were filled with women in Q1 and Q2 2019.

While most of these women were hired into CMO roles in financial services and the natural resources industry, the claim that ‘gender parity’ is almost here seems premature.

Another AdAge.com article states that women in ad, media and tech communities don’t fair as well. Corporate and executive positions held by women slipped one point over 2019 from 30% to 29%.

And while there were some gains by women of color, women and people of color seem to lack the mentorship opportunities to gain exposure to the necessary initiatives and P&L management experience one needs to advance to more senior levels.

If approximately half of all entry level positions in advertising, media and technology are filled by women, then companies are failing to provide equal opportunities for advancement for women.

So achieving gender and diversity parity is still not here, and more needs to be done to grow the number of women CMOs and agency leaders.

Saying that is takes time, or women take themselves out of the job market, is just an excuse for failure to create equal advancement opportunities.

Then there’s the ageism thing – 40 is being treated as the new 70 when really 70 is the new 40.

No wonder more entrepreneurs are women of a certain age.

Bajkowski + Partners LLC is a leading consultancy providing services to marketing and procurement teams in the areas of agency relationship management, agency search, process audits, contract and SOW development and audits, and other marketing operations related areas.

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Is ’40 the new 70′ the Latest Marketing Trend?

If you look at the marketing industry, it seems that way. Welcome to the new ‘grey attrition’

While it’s been a ‘young person’s business’ at ad agencies for a long time, corporate marketing jobs also seem to be ‘out with the old, in with the new’ – unless you’re the CMO. Whether at an ad agency or on the brand side, this is a disturbing marketing trend.

Seems like we receive at least one email a month from a colleague who has a friend / colleague that’s suddenly unemployed and, because they’re over 40, run into a ‘grey wall’ with human resources or job app websites.

One man of a certain age, according to a recent Digiday article, spent the last three years as a permalancer while he looks for a permanent advertising agency gig.

There are likely many factors driving this new ageism in the marketing industry.

One such culprit is certainly marketers driving down agency comp. This eventually forces advertising agencies to find cheaper talent solutions. And eventually marketers complain that the agency team is too junior and, worst yet, fires the agency.

Mergers and acquisitions, consolidations, and reorganizations also contribute to ‘grey attrition’ at both clients and agencies as they unload higher salaried staffs.

Whatever reason you come up with, it is still a human one.

It’s time marketers and agencies rethink scopes, and staffing – on both sides.

Pressures to increase ROI need to factor in the value of experienced human capital.

With that ‘grey attrition’ also goes your knowledge base. Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

We’d argue that it can be both.

Mileage doesn’t always ensure wisdom. And ‘the years’ doesn’t mean you hit the brakes on learning.

Let’s stop and rethink this marketing trend.

Bajkowski + Partners is a global consultancy with practices in Agency Search and Selection Management, Agency Performance and Relationship Management, Marketing Organization and Optimization, and Brand and Marcomm Management.

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Freelance Worker Restrictions – Coming to a State Near You?

In an April ruling, the California Supreme Court significantly raised the bar that companies must meet to classify workers as independent – aka freelance – and not as employees.

What’s driving this? Money of course.

Money in the form of lost revenue to state and federal coffers, and in benefits “denied” to freelancers.

Freelancers have long been the backbone of the advertising industry as agencies worry about margins while trying to meet the demands of clients and new business opportunities that ebb and flow on a weekly basis. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of workers classified as freelancers rose more than 50 percent, accelerated by the 2008 recession and changes in worker attitudes about their work-life choices.

There certainly has been abuse, which gave rise to the term permalancer as agencies denied employment opportunities when there was clearly a sustainable need. We even know a few permalancers that rotated between a couple of NYC agencies every 4-6 months just so the agencies could avoid having to classify them as employees.

In these instances, however, those permalancers were paid through payroll as temporary help and all taxes were collected as though they were real employees. What they were denied was vacation and sick time benefits as well as access to agency 401k programs.

But what of all those gig economy predictions, whereby temporary positions for short term assignments are offered by companies to independent workers, would become the new normal? A study by Intuit predicts that by 2020, independent contractors will comprise 40 percent of the workforce.

Between clients squeezing agencies on pricing and increasing government scrutiny of worker classifications, agencies and clients may need to rethink their remuneration as well as staffing practices.

Some agencies have already turned to using staffing companies that take care of payroll matters while supplying temporary creative, production and even account management help. The challenge though is getting top talent to work through these temp agencies that can skim anywhere from 10 to 33 percent of the worker’s wage – and that’s before covering the payroll taxes.

Another solution is to directly hire top freelance talent as temporary employees for clearly defined short terms assignments, paid through payroll, and then released when the assignment is over.

While the right solution may not be a lasting one, it’s clear that agencies as well as marketers with inhouse studios need to work with their human resources and legal teams to find a solution that heads off potential legal battles while attracting top talent that just don’t want or need a full time permanent job.

After all, your state could be next.

Bajkowski + Partners LLC is a leading consultancy providing services to marketing and procurement teams in the areas of agency relationship management, agency search, process audits, contract and SOW development and audits, and a number of other marketing resource and marketing operations related areas. For more information, please visit our website.

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