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AMV BBDO introduces radical new initiative aimed at boosting female creative talent

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AMV BBDO is introducing a new employment policy aimed at boosting numbers of female creatives in the agency (and ultimately, the wider industry) by offering permanent, half-time roles. The new programme is designed to identify the best female creative talents who may have taken a career break to raise a family or care for a family member, but feel unable to return to an agency creative department because of the time commitment required.

The new creative roles will be built around half the working hours required in standard working contracts (for example, 3.5 rather than 7 working hours a day), allowing employees to more easily plan their working days around their family or care needs. The roles will be permanent positions, rather than freelance or short-term, and each new hire will be connected to a mentor from outside the agency to help with their transition back into work. All the roles will be part of the main AMV BBDO creative department, and employees on the new contracts will receive the same kind of creative briefs, training opportunities, and appraisals as full-time members of the department. Remuneration for the roles will be pro-rata based on contractual hours.

Women are already under-represented in senior management positions across the industry, filling 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. AMV BBDO will provide a range of options for people taking the new roles, from working as solo creatives, to partnering with other part-time creative employees, or working on a variety of projects with creative colleagues on full-time contracts.

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, Male parents who are in a primary care role and are attempting to return to work are also eligible to apply. The agency is currently in the process of hiring between eight and 10 half-time roles to its creative department, with a view to rolling the programme out across other departments in the future.

Ian Pearman, CEO at AMV BBDO, said: “The research clearly points to motherhood being a significant “off-ramp” for women in business careers because there are 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.”

Alex Grieve, joint ECD, AMV BBDO, said: “Returning to the creative floor while raising a family or caring for an elderly parent can be a tough transition. We're really proud to be able to offer a viable option to people wanting to join our team that makes them feel properly valued, and means they can focus on producing their very best work.”

Adrian Rossi, joint ECD, AMV BBDO, said: “On top of diversifying our team through this programme, it's important that junior creatives in our company – particularly female creatives - know there is corporate and cultural support in place for returning to work after a break, whenever they may need to take one.”

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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