Women working in the creative media industries are under-represented, underpaid, and more highly qualified than their male counterparts, according to a report by training organisation Skillset.

Women in the Creative Media Industries aims to provide a picture of the imbalances faced by women working in the sector, examining evidence gathered by Skillset since 1999. It found that just over half of women (51 per cent) in the industry's workforce are aged 35 or over, compared to 64 per cent of men. And, on average, men in the industry earn substantially more than women – £34,669 compared to £29,015.

Representation of women is lowest in interactive content design (5 per cent, in 2009, compared to 32 per cent in 2006) and content for computer games (6 per cent). This is compared with women making up 46 per cent of the UK workforce. In a three-year period, there was a significant drop in the number of women working in animation – from 34 per cent in 2006 to 20 per cent in 2009.

59 per cent of men working in animation are aged 35 or over -- compared to 44 per cent of women. Just 34 per cent of the women working in the content for computer games sector are aged 35 and over, compared with 43 per cent of men.

The report points the finger at the high use of freelancers in the creative industries, which many women find to be incompatible with having a family. Many women leave the industry before middle age and do not return.

The sectors looked at were television, radio, facilities, film, animation, corporate production, commercials, pop promos, interactive content design, content for computer games, archives and libraries, photo imaging, and publishing.