Posted Apr 29

Bringing down barriers for women in job applications

by Hope McAdams
Bringing down barriers for women in job applications by Hope McAdams

It’s no secret that the VFX industry – and the wider entertainment industry – is a male-dominated field across the board. Though this is especially evident in artist and supervisory roles, where women continue to occupy a small fraction of positions.

In 2019 the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University released the 22nd annual Celluloid Ceiling report. The report found that only a staggering 4% of special effects supervisors and 6% of visual effects supervisors in the top 250 grossing films of that year were women. The report also looked at the percentage of women across other major entertainment industry roles in the top 250 films that year, including writers (19%) and executive producers (21%), among others.

Though the number of women working in the industry reached a historic high in 2019, men still outnumber women four to one in key roles

But why?

During the initial stage of searching and applying for jobs, studies show that women are less likely to apply unless they meet 100% of the job requirements. LinkedIn’s gender insights report claimed that women tend to screen themselves out of the conversation and end up applying to 20% fewer jobs than men.

However, the same report also showed that once women do apply, they are 16% more likely than men to get hired. In addition, if the role is more senior than their current position, that number goes up to 18%
I This hesitation among women is deeply ingrained and can be attributed to a whole host of cultural and structural factors that influence behaviours and perceptions. Truly addressing the root cause of this requires undoing and unlearning much of how women are typically conditioned to view themselves and the world around them.

However, there are always practical steps that can offer immediate impact, such as ensuring job descriptions explicitly encourage women to apply even if they don’t check all the boxes in the job criteria. Ensuring job adverts detail information women tend to consider when applying for a role – such as benefits information about flexible working policies, parental leave, and healthcare – may also be a step in the right direction.

Recruitment at The Focus

To all women in the industry and those who are at least trying to get their foot in the door but are constantly second-guessing themselves, we would like to strongly encourage you to continue with the application process.

At The Focus, striving toward a diverse and inclusive industry underpins our recruitment approach. While credentials are part of any job description, we value you as an individual - what you can bring to the table, the experiences you have thus far (however relevant or not), and above all, we value your passion. In the future, we plan to edit the way we write our job descriptions so we can encourage more applications, even if potential applicants don’t necessarily meet all the criteria. So please still get in touch, we'd love to have a chat and see if you could be a great fit.

The key thing to remember is we all must start somewhere, take a chance, learn as you go, and make the most of every opportunity. When in doubt, go for it anyway. –

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