Blog Tape

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Communication

Gender Inequalities and Ageism in the Events Industry

Our industry is often celebrated for its vibrant energy, creativity, and innovation, all factors that are largely attributed to our diverse workforce. However, beneath the shiny surface, lies a troubling reality of gender inequalities and ageism. Despite being dominated by women in terms of numbers, the data from the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey sponsored by Cvent DRPG and YOU Exclusive reveals a stark contrast when it comes to senior positions, pay scales, and the representation of older female eventprofs.

One of the most glaring issues highlighted by the survey is the underrepresentation of women in senior roles. While women make up the majority of the workforce, they are significantly underrepresented at director and board-level positions. Only 23% of women hold such roles compared to 38% of men.

Why is this and how can we change this?

This year I was honoured to be chosen as a mentor for the amazing Fast Forward 15 programme which selects 15 women and provides a free yearlong mentoring programme to help them get ahead and assist their career progression. Programmes like this ARE making a significant change – 15 people at a time – but there are also other factors to sort out too.

Despite these advances, the gender pay gap is still very much alive and well. Although women make up a significant part of the workforce, there are far more of them in junior positions than men 13% of event co-ordinators are women (compared to 2% of men). Women also dominate at the junior management level too – 49% of team leaders are women, compared to 40% of men. But when you get higher in the chain of command, that’s when the men take over!

Statistics from the survey show that 50% of men earn over £60,000, whereas only 28% of women earn the same. Even more concerning is the fact that at the highest salary brackets, the gap widens further, with only 20% of women earning over £65,000 compared to 42% of men. These discrepancies not only highlight the lack of gender equality and reinforce the need for urgent action to address equal pay in the industry.

It’s 2024, and we are meant to be a progressive industry so why the hell are we still failing to achieve equal pay?

On the scrapheap?

Imagine working your whole life to attain equal pay, to climb the career ladder only to find yourself on the scrapheap at the relatively young age of 55? Yep, the survey also revealed that ageism is also alive and well in our industry. The survey reveals that only a tenth (10%) of eventprofs are over the age of 55, compared to the national workforce average of 30%.

We talk of inclusivity and diversity, but it seems that agism is still acceptable.  Why do we fail to retain experienced eventprofs as they age? Is this the last ‘ism’ we need to tackle? Despite the value of experience and expertise, older profs seem to be marginalised and overlooked in favour of younger talent.

Achieving gender equality and combating ageism within the events industry requires a multifaceted approach. Firstly, there needs to be a concerted effort to dismantle the structural barriers that inhibit women from advancing into leadership roles. This may involve implementing mentorship programs, leadership training initiatives, and creating a culture of inclusivity and support.

Furthermore, addressing the gender pay gap needs a commitment to pay equity and transparency. Employers must conduct regular pay audits, eliminate biases in hiring and promotion processes, and ensure equal pay for equal work across all levels of the organisation.

Combatting ageism requires a shift in mindset and organisational culture. Employers should recognise and value the contributions of older eventprofs, provide opportunities for continuous learning and development, and create pathways for career progression regardless of age.

We have made significant strides in diversity and inclusion, but there is still much work to be done. By addressing gender inequalities and ageism within the industry, we can create a more equitable and inclusive environment that celebrates the contributions of all professionals, regardless of gender or age.

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