Gender balance is off in the world of design, architectural visualisation, and the built environment.
We’ve created this featured image specifically to paint a picture that unfortunately rings true in our industry.
Across several subsections of the design world, men form the large majority, meaning that a lot of what we see lacks the perspective, experience, vision, skills, direction, creativity, and expertise of women.
Statistics from the Design Council’s 2020 report demonstrates this gender imbalance.
For example, while multidisciplinary design sees a slight female majority lead with a 59% female, 41% male split, within architecture and the built environment – just 19% are female.
Women are also the minority within the graphic design subcategory (39% female, 61% male).
And within digital design, just 15% of designers are women with the remaining 85% consisting of men.
Within the architecture and built environment sector of the design industry, the gender split is a shocking 81% male, 19% female split.
Also shining a light on this trend are our partners, Kerning The Gap – a community dedicated to getting more women into leadership roles within the design industry.
Kerning The Gap reports that although 63% of design students are women, only 17% are in leadership roles.
Unfortunately, this gender imbalance is evident at our own studio – but to be part of the solution, transparency on the matter is vital.
In 2022, despite having no legal obligation to do so, our parent company Uniform Group published our Gender Pay Gap report with hopes that our openness on the matter would make other agencies follow suit.
It showed that the ratio of males to females throughout our family of businesses (which includes brand agency, Continuous) is 60% male to 40% female.
However, impacted by the lack of women within the industry overall, this figure is skewed due to our team of CG artists being made up of 100% men.
Being the change we want to see
Part of our efforts include continually redesigning, evolving, and modernising the way we work to create an environment where everyone within our industry can feel seen, supported, and happy – regardless of gender.
We’ve also created new partnerships and policies to strengthen our efforts and formally build them into the foundations of how our family of businesses runs.
There’s a long way to go, but here are just some of the examples of what we’ve achieved so far:
01 – Co-founding Kerning The Gap North West
Kerning The Gap North West was set up to address the lack of women in leadership roles in design and creativity within our geographical location.
02 – Supporting our partners InnovateHer
InnovateHer gets girls ready for careers in the digital and tech industry, and the digital industry ready for girls.
03 – RemCo setup
An independent remuneration committee was established to ensure fair pay across the business and provide salary guidance to our leadership teams.
04 – Gender balanced shortlisting
We introduced gender balanced shortlists and panels for all roles.
05 – Enhanced and shared parental leave
Implemented shared parental leave and enhanced SHPP policies to support and promote a fairer workplace for parents.
06 – Flexible working
New post-pandemic working practices were implemented providing more flexibility for team members.
This working style also widens our talent pool and supports a better work life balance (most commonly cited as a reason why women struggle to progress in their careers due to childcare commitments).
07 – Menstrual health policy
Our menstrual health policy is designed to protect and support any member of the team who experiences periods.
This also includes – and will be even more beneficial for – those with menstrual conditions or related complications.
Your menstrual health should not be a barrier to your career at Somewhere and we’ll happily facilitate different ways of working to support your wellbeing during your period.
08 – Menopause policy
Menopause is not a taboo or ‘hidden’ subject at the studio.
We have an open, honest, and understanding working environment to ensure anyone experiencing the menopause feels more comfortable.
From temperature control to flexible working, our menopause policy is there to support anyone going through symptoms during their time with us.
09 – Pregnancy loss policy
We’re committed to supporting all employees who suffer the loss of a pregnancy. Whether you’re the mother, partner, or surrogate mother, you’ll be fully supported regardless of your length of service.
This policy recognises pregnancy loss as a bereavement and one not isolated to women or heterosexual couples.
10 – Partnering with Creative Lives in Progress
Creative Lives in Progress (formerly Lecture in Progress) is an inclusive creative careers resource, on a mission to transform the way emerging talent access, understand and connect with the industry.