A while back we discussed what it’s like to be female and work in a ‘stereotypically’ male industry, and although the gap between ‘female’ and ‘male’ industries is becoming slightly blurred, it’s sadly still there. But that may be because of what we expect. Let’s be honest, most wouldn’t expect a guy to sell them perfume in Debenhams, or a man to be their bridal make up. And I’m sure if you’ve ever booked a personal shopper, you expect to be greeted by a woman. It’s okay, you can admit it. We all do it, but before we talk about it, check out the stats below…
- There are an estimated 61,600 job roles in PR, 64% of them are filled by women
- Men make up just 12% of the primary school workforce
- Only 10% of males make up the hair and beauty industry
To see what it’s like, we had a chat to five guys who work in environments dominated by women, and here’s what they had to say.
William Hobson, PR Executive
“I’ve wanted to work in PR since I was a teenager and I’m not sure why, I suppose I just watched too many episodes of Absolutely Fabulous. I studied PR at Uni and I was one of very few males there, but it really doesn’t bother me at all. To be honest, most of my friends are female so it’s just kind of the norm for me. My manager is male and there is one other man in the team I work with.
I quite like the female work environment. I have quite a lot in common with women and PR isn’t exactly the most masculine career around so I thrive in this environment; we’re always talking about the latest fashion trend or what the Kardashians have done this week. My daily tasks include contacting journalists, writing press releases and brainstorming on the different clients we are working with. Working in an agency is like having multiple different hats on at once and it’s prioritising these tasks that takes time to get used to. I love working in PR and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Adam Walker, Male Stylist
“Fashion and beauty is certainly been something that’s engaged my curiosity. From a young age I was always conscious of how I presented myself to the world and, as a result, that grew into a desire to learn about what makes personal style so important. It never bothered me that the industry was female-dominated; there are a lot of industries where that isn’t the case and your gender/sexuality can become a hindering factor, but in fashion and beauty your individuality is what makes you special.
Women have to deal with pressures on body image, clothing and make-up for their entire lives. I think, as a gender, we are beginning to feel similar pressures and it’s time we stepped up to the challenge. Whether you’re male or female is beside the point – I love working with people who are passionate about their work and willing to share this passion with others.”
Michael Perks, Make Up Artist
“I actually trained in acting and singing before starting my career as a make-up artist. I fell into the industry by working in retail and then training as a make-up artist. To be a successful makeup artist, you need to be flexible and versatile; getting up at 4am and finishing at 11pm is just part of the job, but if you love it like I do, that doesn’t matter as it doesn’t really feel like work!
It didn’t bother me that this was a female-orientated industry because I have been in the industry from the age of 17. I started my career on the high street working for some of the biggest companies such as MAC, Benefit, Estée Lauder, Clinique and YSL, and this was dominated with ladies so I have always been around females and understand the industry will always be dominated by them. I’d encourage other males to get involved!
“Though makeup, hair and beauty is seen as a females job, a lot of the time, clients like the male figure as we don’t hold back! I am always surrounded by females, which sometimes can be hard as the bitchiness can start between them, but as a male in the industry I just brush it off and get on with my work.”
Lee Smith, Primary School Teacher
“I entered primary school teaching after working in engineering and with a history degree. I got a ‘positive feel’ for the primary environment as I became more involved. The children never cease to surprise you, usually in a most rewarding way. It’s a great feeling when a child ‘moves on’ and knowing you have played a positive part, both academically.
Sometimes it bothers me that there are mainly women in this field. We shouldn’t just be asking why there are so few men in primary schools; we should ask what it is about the job that makes it so attractive to women! I really enjoy working with women; my team is great fun despite the fact that we sometimes inhabit completely different solar systems. We have to admit the stereotypes otherwise this debate will continue long after I have left the classroom!
There is evidence that many young male undergraduates are ‘frightened off’ by the fear of being wrongly labelled if they express a desire to work with young children. The job is not for the faint-hearted, but sometimes ridiculous and patronising advertisements trying to persuade men to have a go at primary school teaching have obviously never been in front of a KS1 or KS2 class themselves, or spent any time of significance in a primary school environment.”
Craig Ingis, Fragrance Sales Assistant
“I am a sales assistant for the British Fragrance house Penhaligon’s and it’s my job to introduce people to the company and talk them through our collection of fine fragrances, as well as matching people to their perfect Penhaligon’s scent. I have always had a love for fragrance as it’s so much more than splashing something on to smell nice; it’s evocative, powerful and has the ability to tell a story.
The female-dominated industry is not something I’ve thought about. I think traditionally there have always been more women selling fragrance then men but I think times are changing. In my store there are actually more men on the shop floor then women. With the increase of men’s grooming and beauty products available on the market it’s become more acceptable for men to follow their passion and work in the fragrance industry. Men shouldn’t feel put off because they assume it’s a women’s industry, in fact most of the noses who design fragrances are actually men.”
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