Flexibility is vital for underrepresented talent says SheSays Study

The SheSays Study underlines that flexible working is vital for underrepresented talent

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


As the advertising industry’s International Women’s Day bonanza comes to a close, research from SheSays has revealed that flexible working is vital for underrepresented talent.

According to SheSays ‘Defining the Future of Work’ research, 54% of people believe the one thing currently better about work for underrepresented people is being able to work more flexibly. This was followed by leaders recognising employee’s different needs such as physical or mental health (23%) and more diversity in leadership (10%).

The year long study, which was conducted throughout 2024, was designed to unearth what is and isn’t working in the workplace for underrepresented people, and to strategise paths forward. The findings will be used to advise leaders on building a more inclusive workplace.

When asked how to build a future of work with improved outcomes for underrepresented people, the research found that 30% want more diverse representation in leadership and across roles and 20% want continued flexibility around working location and hours.

Flexible futures

Rather than putting on another panel discussion about equality while mandating inflexible return to office mandates, the research underlines the importance of deeds, not words. Many believe agency and business culture reform is needed to meet the workforce's current and future needs, as work parameters were set decades ago and are no longer fit for purpose.

As Melinda Gates, Philanthropist and Chairperson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation famously said: “We’re sending our daughters into a workplace that was designed for our dads”.

SheSays wants to rectify this by listening to people, understanding the current situation and offering solutions to advise businesses. The corporate theme of International Women’s Day this year is #InspireInclusion, while the official theme from UN Women is the more tangible goal of ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’. Flexible Work is the number one tool to close the gender pay gap and therefore actually invest in women, not just talk about it.

SheSays is launching a campaign entitled ‘Flexible Works’ which showcases the physical and emotional wins from flexible working amongst its members. The online campaign asks the community to share their own wins on social media to encourage workplaces to continue to offer flexible working – and see the business advantages of it.

SheSays encourages leaders everywhere to get ahead of the future by creating flexible work environments, policies, and workloads, not forcing rigid structures and mandating.

Amy Dick, UK President of SheSays

Forbes reports that the statistics around the effects of work-life balance on productivity show that companies can double employee output by embracing flexibility. Flexible work gives workers the autonomy to create a schedule that benefits their physical and mental health.

The “flexible work wins” showcased in the campaign range from the need for low sensory spaces, low-stress commute times, pets, family time, and time for wellness and fitness, all for a better work-life balance.

Amy Dick, UK President of SheSays, explains: “We aren’t making assumptions about the workplace but rather taking the time to understand what is and isn’t working for underrepresented people across media, marketing, and advertising industries. Having flexibility has been identified as the highest thing making work better for people, empowering them to be their best, and therefore bring their best.”

She continues: “SheSays encourages leaders everywhere to get ahead of the future by creating flexible work environments, policies, and workloads, not forcing rigid structures and mandating. We also ask those who are responsible for recruitment, allocating roles in leadership and throughout business, to look around you and check whether you see society reflected in your offices. Is there diversity in real life or just on paper? We know that flexibility and diversity are two priorities for the workforce, and therefore they should also be for leaders.”