A new employment policy aimed at boosting the number of permanent half-time jobs to those who may have taken a career break to care for children or a sick family member is being introduced by leading UK ad agency AMV BBDO.
The radical step goes further than existing ‘returnships’ offered by other businesses which offer only short-term experience to mainly female ‘returners’ after starting a family.
AMV BBDO’s programme will start by identifying the best female talents who may have taken a career break to raise a family or care for parent, but feel unable to return to an agency because of the time commitment required.
Applications will then be invited for new permanent half-time creative roles based around half the working hours required in the agency’s standard working contracts, allowing employees to more easily plan their working days around family or care needs.
Each new hire will be connected to a mentor from outside the agency to help with their transition back into work.
Employees on the new contracts will receive the same kind of creative briefs, training opportunities, and appraisals as full-time members.
Remuneration for the roles will be pro-rata based on contractual hours.
The roles will also have full flexibility as to how an individual complete their work – the period of the working day they choose to work, and whether they work from home or in the office, Over time, AMV BBDO hopes its new approach will help boost the number of female creatives working in the UK ad industry, which is known for its under-representation of women.
At senior levels, women fill less than a third of board level positions and just 25% of creative departments. One of the biggest barriers to improving this is the varied challenges women face when trying to re-establish their careers after a break, from confidence issues to the difficulty of balancing the demands of work with family life.
Ian Pearman, CEO, AMV BBDO, said:
“Research clearly points to motherhood being a significant ‘off-ramp’ for women in business careers because there is a dearth of properly designed ‘on-ramps’ to help mothers return in a form that truly balances their professional commitments with their family ones.
“There are plenty of ‘returnships’ run by agencies which let women returning from a career break gain invaluable experience, but they don’t go far enough in changing the fundamentals.
“The point of this programme is to give parents and care givers permanent positions within our creative department with flexibility built in at a contractual level.”
Michele Oliver, VP Marketing at Mars UK said:
“As a client of AMV BBDO, I am proud to know the team working on our brand are leading the industry and broader business world with another great diversity initiative, one that can only help to make our output stronger and richer.”
Kelly Knight, HR director at AMV BBDO, said:
“Parents and primary carers who have taken a career break often struggle to come back to the workplace on terms that work for them, which means the industry loses out on seeing the full potential of what these highly skilled creatives have to offer.
“We’re pleased that our new programme could help turn this issue on its head and demonstrate that there is an untapped pool of talent currently outside of the industry just waiting to get back in and wow the industry.”
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