Marketers lack professional role models to inspire their careers

Senior female marketers in particular are being encouraged to mentor other women, as many women “plateau” in their career before reaching C-suite level.

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Marketers lack professional role models to inspire them in their career, according to a new report.

Axonn Media’s Gender in Marketing study, which polled almost 300 marketers, reveals that just three in 10 marketers (31%) have a professional role model.

This is up slightly from 2015, when fewer than a quarter of marketers said they had professional role models.

Female marketers are now more likely to have a role model, up from 24% in 2015 to 35% today – while only 24% of men have a professional role model, which remains at the same level as in 2015.

Despite this, few marketers want to be a mentor for others. Out of 12 elements of working life, marketers rated “teaching and mentoring others” third from bottom in this study.

There is a lot to be said for the theory ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ – more visible successful senior female marketers will inspire a whole new generation of women in the industry.
Karen Webber, Axonn Media

“Marketers are used to getting inspiration from all aspects of the world for their campaigns, but when it comes to inspiration for their careers, it’s slim pickings. Role models are of crucial importance to those navigating a career in an industry that is as dynamic and challenging as marketing. Experienced marketers have a responsibility to mentor and inspire others,” says Karen Webber, marketing director at Axonn Media.

“Senior female marketers in particular should look to mentor other women, as our research shows many women plateau in their career before reaching director or C-suite level. There is a lot to be said for the theory ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ – more visible successful senior female marketers will inspire a whole new generation of women in the industry.”

There is also a gender divide among those who have role models, with women mainly looking up to other women and men to other males.

Both genders said their inspiration came mainly from industry or business leaders such as Karren Brady, Sheryl Sandberg, Simon Sinek and Richard Branson. This was followed by current or previous managers, while family members and clients are also mentioned.

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