It’s been an interesting time for those in charge at the BBC. The publication of the corporation’s salary bill and the disparity between certain male and female presenters’ pay has made for hundreds of column inches in the press.
It’s raked over those red-hot coals as to the clear divide that still exists between men and women in many a workplace. The perceived ability of either sex to be able to perform the same task to an equal level, then get paid the requisite amount for that task, regardless of which parts of their body they might or might not consider shaving before they leave for work in the morning.
The BBC thing does skew the view a little I think, with many headlines being taken by Chris Evans and Gary Lineker for their licence-fee sponsored ‘chunks of change’. But if you want the ginger one on your roster, it’s going to cost you. Not based on him being a man or a woman but because he’s Chris Evans – and Chris Evans is an expensive luxury. The same can be said for Lineker – greatest English striker of many a generation? Might be a bit of a dear do, because of his pedigree and not his gender. Further down the list, however, the gaps are more difficult to defend.
Putting women in the most senior positions is something the creative industries does more than most. At Superdream, we’re proud to be contributing to that. Our UK office is run by Fran Nolan who does this with requisite aplomb, four days a week, alongside her responsibility of being a mother. Down in Brisbane, Fran’s equivalent is Kirsty Visman, who is running and growing our Australian operation at a prodigious rate. Both appointments made on pedigree, ability, personality and drive.
I’m quite grateful to work in a setting where discrimination of any kind simply doesn’t exist. The creative department is one of the most neutral working environments you’ll find. But sometimes a different equality issue arises in agencies. The issue of time spent in the office.
At Superdream, we’re not the finished article but we are trying to level the playing field for those who, for whatever reason, need to adopt non-standard work patterns. We recently trialled and are now successfully implementing flexible working.
Agencies like ours do rail against this sort of thing even now – due to those ever-increasing client demands. But our push for increased diversity in our particular workplaces means we need brilliant people of any sort. Not simply those that fit the ‘good employee’ template. Whatever that is.
From a creative angle, it’s so we’re more readily able to capitalise on those annoying 4:00 AM flashes of inspiration. Why couldn’t that have happened at 4:00 PM? Unfortunately, good ideas don’t play that way.
That topic aside, in the creative department, it doesn’t matter if you are male, female, gay, straight, black, brown, white, any nationality, able-bodied, disabled, whatever. As I heard Sir John Hegarty say once, the only thing that matters in the creative department is have you got any good ideas? And, more importantly, have you got any today?