Women in public relations have contributed greatly to the industry and make up a significant portion of the PR workforce. Despite the presence of women from entry level through to senior level positions the PR profession still favours men with the pay gap between men and women in public relations pointing to a deeper issues in the way the industry rewards efforts based on gender.
In the CIPR State of the Profession 2016 report pay inequalities were most prevalent in senior positions for both independent practitioners and those operating within consultancies showing the higher the level, the fewer women are found. While women make up 73% of non-manager roles and 70% of manager roles the figures take a dip to 60% when examining women in head and associate director roles and even more dramatically to 48% at director, MD, owner and partner positions. At these most senior positions the gender pay gap stands at £24,770.
Public relations is numerically dominated by women yet the financial numbers indicate that they are greatly disadvantaged in favour of their male counterparts when being compensated in the same roles. Speaking on The PRCA 2016 PR Census results Mary Whenman CMPRCA, president of Women in PR expressed how disappointing the findings which indicated that women operating in the industry within the last 12 months faced a pay gap of £9,111.
In 2016, this is simply unacceptable. Taking a closer look at PR agencies, while it is good to see progress being made at account executive and account manager level, the PR Census shows that women in senior roles continue to be paid less than their male colleagues.
Whenman also suggested more should be done to mentor mid-career women into senior roles to combat a trend of ‘dropping out’ of the industry.
It is clear that more needs to be done to combat the disparities in salaries between women and men in the PR industry. However this issue is not unique PR and Communications, but a societal trend which is no longer realistic for a global economy were women are pursuing advancements in their career or managing single-income homes with the prospect of increased cost of childcare.
More than three decades after the equal pay act it is time to change the pattern, especially in an industry traditionally so heavily dominated by women.