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In 2012, Hanson Search commissioned a gender balance study to gain an insight into the impact of maternity leave on the communications and marketing services industry. The results were astonishing: nearly two thirds (62%) of female employees felt they would be discriminated against if they became pregnant and almost half (49%) faced difficulties when they returned to work after giving birth. What’s more, 49% of women surveyed were considering seeking employment elsewhere should employers fail to address these issues fairly. The report highlighted the clear need for change within the industry and for honest and open conversations about how to balance the requirements of businesses against the needs of the employee. As such, we held a strategy discussion comprising ten senior industry heads (including Jane Wilson, CEO of CIPR and Afua Basoah, Director at Ogilvy Healthworld) with the aim of developing practical solutions to inspire both employers and employees to drive positive organisational change. Together, we came up with a code of best practice that recommended:

  • Creating the right company culture – encouraging transparency and openness to drive discussion and re-establish core job priorities.
  • Taking responsibility – creating a two-way fairness policy that is honest and realistic about future plans.
  • Devising a maternity comeback framework – employees taking responsibility for creating a framework structure which details measureable deliverables and output.
  • Reappraising the legal situation – distinguishing reality from myth when it comes to maternity rights.

 A lot has changed since then and three years on we want to know what’s different. We would love you to take part in our new survey here: www.research.net/s/hansonsearchgb

The more voices that are heard, the better able we are to both champion best practice and understand what still needs to change in order to see greater gender equality in the industry. 

Posted on 05.03.2015

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