The number of women in senior management in Britain’s ad industry has dropped considerably in recent years, according to the 2000 agency census from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising released on Friday.

Only 11% of chairs, chief executives and managing directors at British shops are women, down from 17% in 1996, even though women make up 49% of all agency staff (the same as in 1999).

The number of female agency board directors increased marginally from 22% of the total in 1999 to one-quarter, while 37% of heads of department are women, the same as in the previous year – potentially worrying statistics, according to Christine Walker, founder of Walker Media. “There has been a small movement in the right direction on agency boards,” she commented, “but board directors tend to be heads of department so the lack of movement there could stall any progress that has been made.”

Other findings include:

* The size of the average agency has increased from 53 staff in 1994 to 69.

* Some 78% of agency staff are based in London.

* The industry continues to be a young one – half of all staff are under 30, while 82% are under 40, the same as in 1999.

* Of the 13,508 staff in the census, 11,124 are at creative or full-service shops, while 2,384 are at media agencies.

* The number of secretarial staff has declined from 11.6% of the total in 1994 to 6.3%.

News sources:; IPA website