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IWD 2024: Women in eCommerce foresee improvement but barriers persist
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

A recent survey conducted by Digital Six, an Edinburgh-based ecommerce agency, reveals an optimistic yet cautious outlook for women in the ecommerce industry by 2024. In anticipation of International Women's Day, the agency shared these insightful findings, which were garnered from a sample of female professionals in small and medium-sized ecommerce firms across the UK.

The survey explored various aspects of gender bias, career progression, and future prospects for women in ecommerce. Of the respondents, 76.9% conveyed a belief that the situation for women in the sector will likely improve, while a substantial 40% still perceive gender bias as an obstruction to progression. The vital role of mentorship from successful women was highlighted, with 70.3% of the respondents affirming its importance in their career development.

Kate Little, Managing Director of Digital Six, shared her views on these findings, stating, "As a proudly female-led agency, we’re delighted to be able to shed some light on the progress made for, and issues raised by, women in our industry." She expressed optimism about the hopeful outlook among women in ecommerce but emphasised the ongoing need for dialogue and initiatives to combat enduring challenges and biases.

Positive findings from the survey encompass a broad range of themes. An overwhelming 76.9% of respondents anticipate an improvement in the situation for women in ecommerce, with none suspecting it will get worse. Peer support emerged as a vital factor, with 70.3% attributing importance to learning from other women in the field. Two-thirds (66.2%) mentioned no difficulty in progressing within the ecommerce industry. Other encouraging trends include the rising demand for less gender-focused roles (62.1%) and changes to the gender pay gap (44.8%). The increase in flexible post-COVID-19 work arrangements was acknowledged to have a positive impact on women's balancing of work and family commitments.

However, the survey also sheds light on persisting challenges. Respondents cited experiences of pay inequality (47.3%), progression imbalance (52.7%), and stereotype culture (52.7%). Persistent barriers to women's progression were identified as stereotypes (59.4%), gender bias (50%), and pressures of parenting/childcare (65.6%). It was also agreed upon by the majority (67.7%) that women are more often promoted based on past accomplishments rather than future potential, unlike their male counterparts.

The survey comes at a crucial juncture as the ecommerce industry continues to burgeon, with women poised to play a paramount role in its evolution. There is a pressing need for improvement, particularly in augmenting leadership representation and reducing career advancement barriers. The survey also encourages a call to action for industry leaders and firms to cultivate a more inclusive ecosystem that supports the advancement of women. "Digital Six is committed to championing these changes", affirmed Little, inviting industry peers to participate in a collective endeavour towards an equitable ecommerce landscape.