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Career dissatisfaction is high for women in media. Why?

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The 2024 Women in Media (WIM) Insight report surveyed 329 workers in sectors including journalism, production, public relations and publishing.
Women work in a newsroom in the 1970s. They have grim expressions and work at typewriters.

Career dissatisfaction is high for women in media, with a third wanting to quit their jobs, according to new research.

The 2024 Women in Media (WIM) Insight report surveyed 329 workers in sectors including journalism, production, public relations and publishing.

More than half of respondents feel unsure about their career progress, with worker dissatisfaction driven by financial pressures and a lack of opportunities.

The findings coincide with recent allegations of bullying and sexual harassment within some of the country’s biggest media companies.

About the report

WIM is a not-for-profit charity aimed at boosting gender, leadership and economic equality in media workplaces.

According to its latest survey:

  • 57% of women are dissatisfied or unsure with their career progress (up 3% from the 2023 report).
  • 35% are considering quitting their jobs. This sentiment was particularly high among senior and mid-career professionals.
  • 56% hold a negative view of their industry’s commitment to gender equality.

Career dissatisfaction for women in media

Around half of women with 1-10 years in media felt their career wasn’t progressing quickly enough, WIM found.

It listed income as women’s top concern relating to career roadblocks.

It said that on average, Australian women in media make $409.40 less than men per week. The media industry pay gap is above the national average.

Other barriers to career progression included limited opportunities, a lack of managerial support and caregiving/household responsibilities.

Leadership

Women make up 53% of media professionals at the early career stage.

However, women are represented in 29% of senior media positions, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

WIM report author Petra Buchanan said the findings “underscore the critical and urgent need for industry-wide systemic change”.

Buchanan called for better compensation, opportunities, and “safe, supportive” work environments to help women transition “into leadership positions”.

Recommendations

The report made several recommendations for Australian workplaces, including:

  • Stronger commitment to gender equality and better pay transparency
  • Clear pathways to promotion
  • Access to upskilling opportunities, e.g. AI training
  • Better support from managers to ”foster an environment where women feel engaged and positively challenged.”

Industry allegations

The WIM findings follow allegations of misconduct across the offices of several Australian broadcasters.

This includes the resignation of senior Nine News executive Darren Wick after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Channel Seven is investigating allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” by senior journalist Robert Ovadia.

According to a recent survey of ABC News staff, 13% had experienced sexual harassment at work, while nearly 30% reported being bullied in the past two years.

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