Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Digital Women: Juliet McCutcheon, Commercial Director UK, Channel Factory

Juliet McCutcheon is Commercial Director UK at Channel Factory. She has a career spanning a decade in media, with previous roles at companies including Amobee and OMD.

What is the biggest opportunity for women in your sector of the digital industry today?

I don’t believe there are opportunities out there that are not for women anymore! Employers are more conscious about being inclusive, there are more opportunities to be a mentor or have a mentor.

There are networks to join and panel spots to be had. I think the biggest opportunity is for women to push themselves into areas in our industry that are still male dominated – mainly commercial roles and product/technology focused roles.

What is the biggest challenge to you as a woman in the digital industry and how are you overcoming it?

While there is more opportunity than before, the biggest challenge for me still lies in there being a lack of senior female leadership, and therefore, sometimes being the only woman/one of few women in a meeting.

It creates this nagging feeling of ‘I bet they wish a man was here’.  I think both men and women know the sort of thing they should be saying about equality and equal opportunity but I have also found when being in the minority, if you scratch even a little bit beneath the surface the same ‘harmless’ jokes rear their heads.

Overcoming this is where your own employers and the networks outside of your company can help. They can provide you with the training, tools and support to feel confident in your place in the room. As a senior woman, and like others I know, I now make sure other women come and sit at the table and are not spoken over.

The support networks are also amazingly helpful in making you feel confident in the natural abilities that you have. I always say to my colleagues and friends in the industry – nobody else thinks like you. So sometimes what seems glaringly obvious to you is not to anyone else. Speak up!

What three things could employer companies do to make the digital industry better for women?

Don’t make childcare and parental leave a woman’s problem. One of the ways to drive equality and make sure we retain talent in the industry is by being flexible and encouraging shared parental leave and responsibilities. When employers only focus on mums returning to work and flexibility for mums, it reinforces the idea that having children and a career is only a woman’s concern and not everybody’s.

Actually tackle the gender pay gap. According to government collected data from 2023, almost four out of five companies and public bodies are still paying men more than women (78.4%). Although the median pay gap reduced slightly from the previous year to 9.1% in 2023-2024, the lowest level since mandatory reporting became law in Great Britain in 2018, any gap is still too large. Leaders in the industry must look at their own teams and make sure they’re part of the statistics that are working to reduce and eliminate the gap. Support initiatives for women internally and externally – not just in word but in actions.

Be aware of the office admin/housekeeping that often falls to women in the office and be cognisant of the extra workload. Booking meeting rooms and restaurants, taking down the Christmas tree, organising a leaving present, confirming event attendees. All of these seemingly minor tasks add up and should be delegated not according to gender. Make sure the same people aren’t being left to do these things every time. 

What support structures and organisations are most important and effective to you as a woman in the digital industry?

Internally the support from my boss and my colleagues over the last few years has been invaluable to my development. I have found Channel Factory to be hugely supportive in giving me opportunities that I believe I wouldn’t have got in any other companies.

That’s one of the great things about working in a startup, which our industry is full of! Ideas, innovation and putting your hand up are rewarded and opportunities come up to be grabbed, rather than in a very hierarchical workplace. They have also done the same for other team members and rewarded ideas and innovation rather than just years of experience.

What is the biggest misconception about women in the digital industry?

That commercial roles are not for women. Somewhere along the line women are being discouraged from moving into sales/trading/commercially focused roles. If you look across the industry you can see that women are in the minority in agency trading roles, heads of trading and sales roles.

When we were hiring our sales team at Channel Factory I was actively looking for female applicants and we only received 2 CVs vs 20+ men. Maybe all the women are snapped up already but for me it showed a trend that we see in agencies and tech partners.