UFI Releases “Women in the Exhibition Industry” Research Results

November 6, 2018

In keeping with its objective to provide vital data and best practices to the entire exhibition industry, UFI released the results of its “Women in the Exhibitions Industry” research at the 85th UFI Global Congress, held Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

As a joint project between UFI and its media partner m+a, the goal of the research is to provide insights into the perception of women’s and men’s skills in the workplace, the potential for advancement for women within the industry and details of the different aspects driving women’s careers drivers.

More than 200 mostly female respondents from around the world participated in the online survey that sought to discover whether women are enjoying equal status in the workplace or are lagging behind.

According to the survey results, a staggering 82 percent of respondents enjoy working in the exhibition industry and love their jobs.

Women were identified as having soft skills such as good communication skills, empathy, strong organizational skills and the capacity to multi-task. Yet despite these skills, women lagged behind men when it came to networking.

Meanwhile, all respondents of both sexes assigned self-confidence, technical know-how and power-related skills to men.

Concerning equal treatment and career advancement, more than half of the female respondents did not feel they were treated equally in terms of salary and career opportunities, and more than one third also believed they are held back from taking on more responsibility.

“Women clearly make up the majority of the workforce in the trade fair industry, but they only represent a minority of the leadership,” said Dr. Gwen Kaufmann from Germany-based Deutscher Fachverlag, who led the project.

She added, “Both men and women agree that women can deliver diversity with a more creative approach when it comes to solving problems, helping the industry to prosper.”

Most of the respondents said that the industry would benefit from more female leaders and 61 percent already see active support for women, although only 49 percent think that quotas are the way to go.

Contrary to men, women often have to choose between their career and their private lives, which is also seen as one of the major negative career factors, with career breaks taken due to maternity leave (78 percent) and institutional discrimination (68 percent).

After the initial presentation of these results at the UFI Global Congress, the association plans to continue to work on the topic, according to UFI officials.

“Men and women have different skills and are complementary, so the optimum is a mix of both sexes,” said Sonia Thomas, COO of UFI. “We all must consider how to increase female representation at senior level by making the path to the top a little easier for women.”

The full results of the “Women in the Exhibitions Industry” survey can be downloaded HERE.

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