A hot topic in every industry at the moment is that of gender equality. While many obstacles have been tackled, it’s clear that there’s still some way to go before UK employers can boast a truly level playing field. But the events community has a lot to be proud of in this arena and we explore below some of the prevailing issues, as well as the initiatives and conversations that have been sparked to address gender imbalances.
As a crewing company, it’s not all that surprising that our labour force is currently an all-male operation. Gallowglass has certainly had females within our crews over the years, but there are one or two perceived challenges that tend to deter some women from applying. One of these is the prospect of having to work anti-social hours on some of our crewing jobs. For people with young families and little support at home, this could represent a non-starter. On the other hand, being able to select the jobs and the hours worked, offers ultimate flexibility, so our people have the freedom to work at times that suit their other commitments.
Another potential drawback is the strenuous lifting that comes with the job. Because we follow stringent health and safety rules and regulations, nobody is expected to lift unacceptable weights these days. However, there’s no denying that it’s a very physical role, so the crewperson has to be prepared to undertake the same tasks. Anyone who applied with the idea that the job was about rearranging vases of flowers would be in for a shock!
In fact, Gallowglass was a pioneer in training staff in safe manual handling. Whether or not you’re built like a sumo wrestler, our training, together with the brilliant spirit of teamwork that comes with the job, ensures that you’ll have all the support you need.
And we’re proud to say that elsewhere within Gallowglass we have an even male-female distribution. Our business is underpinned by a powerful administrative infrastructure, so Head Office departments such as HR and Accounts offer positions that provide a more consistent work-life balance with regular hours. We also have female Health and Safety Advisors.
Our Head of HR, Chris Parry-Jones, is not only a female member of the Gallowglass Group Board, but a highly-respected events industry figure, contributing to various committees and panels on training and employer best practice
Her role includes monitoring diversity throughout and making sure that career progression opportunities are available for all. Passionate about enabling people to fulfil their potential, Chris has been instrumental in ensuring that Gallowglass continues to attract and retain the very best people.
Chris says: “There has never been a gender issue at Gallowglass and there is absolutely a place for female crew here. We welcome anyone who is prepared to work hard, accept anti-social hours and has a good attitude. For people wishing to join the technical side of the industry, becoming a crew member is an excellent way to see how all the different disciplines – lighting, rigging, sound, set etc. – work and fit together. “
Events is one industry that is dominated by women, many of whom own or hold senior positions in successful businesses. A recent report showed that 98% of women in the events industry have never felt at a disadvantage. This is a view that inspires other women to get involved and believe in their ability to climb the career ladder and proves that our industry is leading the way in offering a working environment where all employees are picked for their abilities, experience and attitude, regardless of gender.
As is the case in many other industries and professions, and despite the events world being predominately female, there’s still an imbalance between men and women at Board level in the events industry. Research shows that factors such as family priorities and low confidence levels in applying for promotion are those most commonly found to inhibit women’s progression to the top jobs.
But our industry has spawned a number of ground-breaking initiatives, such as the She Means Business conference at leading events industry trade show, IMEX, and the Fast Forward 15 mentoring programme. These are addressing a range of issues, including the gender pay gap and the need to increase the number of leadership positions held by women.
Several women-only networking groups have also been formed to assist female progression within the industry. These have been met with a mixed response, however. Many women business leaders feel it’s counter-productive to exclude (and alienate) male colleagues, since the objective is to achieve greater rather than less cohesion across the gender divide. Others see all-female groups as offering great opportunities to bring together like-minded, inspiring women to provide mentoring and help build a more equal future.
Whatever your gender, if you’re looking for event crew jobs in London or elsewhere in the UK, why not get in touch today and see how our career progression opportunities could fit in perfectly with your lifestyle?
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