Well, where are they? When it gets to director level, women are few in this sector. But is that changing?
In a world where we are being scrutinised for every decision we make based on gender bias how conscious are we of this when we are recruiting from within? Naturally, one may think, very conscious, yet in a male dominated industry are female employees who have the skills and attributes to do a ‘man’s job’ still being overlooked?
Have a think. How many women are working on your strategic team? How many women have you employed in leadership positions? How many women have you encouraged to take the next step in to a leading role in your business?
When a position as head of exhibitions and events opened up at Oasis the company took the obvious route and looked within for someone to fill the role. Less obvious perhaps was its decision - to promote Stacey Bearne, who had been an employee for eight years.
“As the first female manager at Oasis, outside of the leadership team, in a traditionally male-oriented industry, I feel proud to work for a company that recognises its workforce’s skills regardless of gender. This of course should be the case for all women in the workplace but sadly it is not always the case,” recognises Bearne.
Having begun her career in a sign making and Adobe Illustrator role - which projected her in to the world of large-format graphic production – Bearne has risen through the ranks at Oasis, taking on larger and larger clients, project-managing award winning agencies and holding their hands through prestigious and ambitions events all over the world. Her roles within the company have exposed her to the mechanics of the large-format print sector as she has worked closely with the production team where she smashed through gender barriers to learn about printing processes. Now she manages a team of five who contribute an impressive lion’s share of the company turnover and has a remit to grow the already successful department by focusing on gaining a stronghold in the outdoor events market.
Bearne’s key goal is to increase sales of exhibition graphics and printed materials in line with the company’s overall vision of offering a full service solution for clients. With some tough going financial goals to meet and a two-year target of reaching £4m turnover for her side of the business she knows she has her work cut out.
To reach her targets Bearne and her team will work closely with the marketing department to develop new relationships with agencies specialising outdoor events, and with the R&D department to push the boundaries in terms of event graphics.
Operations director, Andy Delpech, who manages recruitment for Oasis, says: “Promoting Stacey was about harnessing a skill set that can take the business further. Gender plays no part in a decision. Good people are just that – people.”
Simon Osborne, Oasis MD, adds: “At Oasis we focus on our master craftsmen, which very much includes women. If we see the right skill set we nurture and retain it and help that person bring success to their own career and to the business. We are really excited to have Stacey take the helm of our fastest growing department.”
Is it time to reconsider how - and where - women fit into your business?