Picking a partner. – By @PugheScarlet

By Scarlet Pughe


Picking a partner.


It comes to the time of year at SCA where we are required to pick a partner. I was lucky enough to work with Chloë on a brief in the first term which made picking a partner much easier for me. But I decided I wanted to reflect on what I wrote in my dissertation (titled ‘To what extent does a partnership recruitment strategy contribute to the lack of female creatives in leading advertising agencies?’) before I started SCA to see whether I still agreed with what I had written in regards to picking a partner. 


Creative partnerships are very much like romantic relationships. You find someone who sees the world the same way you do; you feel that spark of connectedness; you start building something together; and you try to hold on through the inevitably bumpy ride, where deepening familiarity can either strengthen your bond or tear it apart. Women and men work in diverse ways, approach problems differently, and react to conflict in distinctive ways according to Annis and Nesbitt in their book “Results at the Top”.  They suggest that men are fact based in their approach to work whereas women have a greater memory capacity and perceive things more deeply. When problem solving, women tend to define a problem in broader terms and examine a wider array of potential factors before going into solution mode whereas men tend to define the problem and begin be eliminating issues. They suggest this is why women prefer to talk out problems and men want to dive straight in to solve them. In conflict, Men tend to depersonalize and externalize issues or problems, giving them time to think through solutions, often in solitude. Women tend to personalize and are more inclined to talk through the issue to reach understanding. There tends to be a large amount of generalisation in all these types of analyses however psychologist David Myers suggests that “in-group bias is the tendency to favour one’s own group: “In high schools, students often form cliques – jocks, preppies, stoners, skaters, gangsters, freaks, geeks – and disparage those outside their group.” It is suggested therefore that men are probably more likely to pair with other men and likewise with women. Logistically, at an early career stage there should be roughly enough of each sex to go round equally however years down the road, with a lack of available women it is likely there will be fewer all-female partnerships. Fewer relationships will mean that women are less likely to prosper in the industry.

I can think of many reasons why men or women may not want to develop a creative relationship and why a man may not wish to partner with a woman. The threat of partnership break ups through basic differences or home pressures from existing spouses or partners as they see their loved ones perhaps travelling the world and sharing intimate thoughts and experiences together as they become increasingly bonded as a pair. Perhaps a male will think it inevitable that the partnership will break up for the woman to start a family. Can the new mum manage unsociable working hours alongside her family? Would she want to? For how long? 

Why do men want ‘boys nights out’ and girls the same thing? Because ultimately they feel most comfortable with members of their own sex. 


Since joining SCA I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of different people and now reflecting on what I wrote whilst at university, I would say, for me, gender really has had nothing to do with who I have chosen to partner with. I think most of the psychological studies are based on HUGE generalisations. Funnily enough I have chosen to partner with a girl, as my dissertation would suggest is a good idea. But that because she’s a fab person and an amazing copywriter, not because she’s a girl. 

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