Women in media are increasingly anxious and dissatisfied

By AdNews | 10 June 2024
Source: Jeshoots via Unsplash

Dissatisfaction among professional women working in the media has hit a three year low, according to the annual Women in Media Industry Insight Report.

This "alarming" trend is driven by concerns about pay and a lack of promotional opportunities.

But the research also shows women are keen to acquire new skills to become more productive in their roles.

A majority of women (57%) are unsure or explicitly dissatisfied with their career progress, with more than one-third thinking about leaving their jobs.

“Increased levels of anxiety and dissatisfaction are alarmingly evident in this year’s report,” Women in Media strategic advisor Petra Buchanan said .

"Constructively, the report highlights areas for skills development, with two-thirds of women surveyed positive about using AI, primarily for research and content creation, which shows a pragmatic approach to embracing new technologies.

"46% of women are prioritising learning AI, followed by podcasting, recognising its importance in the evolving media landscape."

Women in Media strategic advisor Petra Buchanan

Women in Media strategic advisor Petra Buchanan.

But despite this positivity, there is an underlying conflict about the adoption of AI.

"The enthusiasm for AI to increase productivity is tempered by legitimate concerns about whether these technologies are being implemented in ways that actively counteract bias and address the potential for displacing roles where women are currently prominent,” Buchanan said.

Key findings in report : 

  • 49% (up 11%) of women with 5-10 years of experience are not progressing as desired.
  • 47% (up 23%) of early-career women are dissatisfied.
  • Over one-third attribute their dissatisfaction to a lack of opportunities.
  • Perception of Gender Equality: 56% (up 3%) hold a negative view of the media industry's commitment to gender equality.
  • Pay Concerns: 58% (up 11%) are concerned about better pay. Desire for better pay outpaced other motivations both as reasons to stay (up 8%) and leave (up 3%) current roles. This disconnect suggests that, for some, salaries are not meeting their current expectations or their cost of living, making higher pay more of an urgent/short-term necessity than a future/ long-term aspiration.
  • Promotion and Redundancy Fears: 58% (up 15%) worry about the availability of senior roles, while 47% (up 9%) are concerned about limited promotional opportunities and 25% (up 10%) fear being made redundant.
  • Support and Resources: 27% believe being engaged or challenged in a positive way is crucial to their career progress however 48% (up 2%) are concerned about the impact of budget cuts and a lack of resources.
  • Call for Gender Pay Audits: 69% of respondents advocate for gender pay audits to address the media industry’s gender pay gap.
  • Skills Development Needs: 46% prioritise learning artificial intelligence, followed by podcasting and digital technology. Nearly half (49%) believe AI is particularly useful for research and content creation purposes.

Buchanan emphasised the urgency for employers to address entrenched issues impacting the careers of women in the media workforce.

“These results underscore the critical and urgent need for industry-wide systemic change, starting with a firm commitment to gender equality and addressing the above-average gender pay gap," Buchanan said.

"This change must include providing fair compensation, ample growth opportunities, and a safe, supportive work environment so that women remain in the media and transition into leadership positions."

Recommendations for employers

Women in Media urges media employers to prioritise the following to support women’s career advancement:

  1. Commitment to gender equality: Enhance transparency and commitment to gender equality in the workplace, including pay.
  2. Clear pathways to promotion: Define and communicate career opportunities to aid women’s progression.
  3. Access to upskilling: Focus on providing training in AI, podcasting, and digital technology.
  4. Managerial support: Foster an environment where women feel engaged and positively challenged.

Women in Media is committed to driving ongoing discussions and initiatives to support women in the Australian media industry.

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