“As an exhibit house owner and C level executive in the exhibition industry, it is now clear to me that the only way for change to occur is to work harder, speak up, and champion for change.” — Rhiannon Andersen, Steelhead CMO and Co-Founder

Last November, UFI released the results of a new survey that aimed to evaluate the current status of women in the exhibition industry.

The survey showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents (82%) love working in the industry, and that women excelled at a variety of critical skills, like communication and flexibility. Despite these positive attributes, the report also indicated a continued disparity in pay and career opportunities for women.

Here's how the survey worked. UFI sent out thousands of questionnaires to men and women in the industry. They were asked about issues like job satisfaction, career opportunities, and personal perceptions of gender equality. They were also asked whether they thought men or women were more adept at specific desirable traits, like communication, networking, and self-confidence. Let's take a deeper dive into some of the results.

Skills That Reflect Great Leadership Abilities

Men and women agreed on many skills that women excel at. Specifically, the report found that women were excellent at the following:

  • Communication
  • Multi-tasking
  • Empathy
  • Organizing
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
"I found it interesting how women have more skills in communication, patience, flexibility, multi-tasking, and empathy. All qualities that reflect a good leader," Steelhead Market Manager, Wren Malone.

On the flip side, both men and women indicated a belief that women were not as capable of power-related skills, like networking, making decisions, and asserting themselves.

From the report, “Women see more assertiveness and self-confidence and possession of power in men than they do themselves.” And, “Women attribute themselves much less networking skills then men think they have.”

Disparities in Pay & Career Opportunities

Several key findings indicated a continued gap in career opportunities for women in the exhibition industry. Here are a few of the most significant results.

  • More than half of the female respondents do not feel equally treated when it comes to salary and career opportunities
  • More than one-third of women feel a lack of responsibility

Despite having skills that reflect great leadership abilities, women don’t feel that they are as capable of advancing in their career. The good news is that a majority think that change is necessary and on its way. An overwhelming majority (82%) believe that the industry would benefit from more female leaders, and 61% see active support for women in leadership roles.

We hope that support continues to grow, because we’ve seen firsthand how a company benefits from great female leaders like our CMO, Rhiannon Andersen.

Want to learn more? Check out UFI’s full report here: Women In Exhibitions.

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