Having recently been promoted to director at Hotwire and member of the UK board, unsurprisingly one of the issues my mentor and I have been discussing is how women tend to work harder and care more, but are less likely to know or, more importantly, communicate their value.
Yes this is of course a generalisation, but it’s something I see happening on almost a daily basis. Be it clients who hesitate to communicate their contribution to the board, or female colleagues who are undoubtedly some of the most capable people, but rarely push for promotions when they fully deserve it.
Instead its mostly the men in my working life – directors show ponying themselves around the office, salesmen at client’s organisations driving around in BMWs who are undoubtedly equally capable as these capable women but are obviously much better at communicating, and being rewarded, for the value that they bring their organisations.
We are lucky, us women in PR, working in a primarily a female dominated industry. It’s not often that we come up against sexism in the workplace, especially compared to some of my friends in law or finance. So this got us thinking – why are women not speaking up? And what can women learn from men on this front?
In my experience, the reasons behind pay inequality isn’t just the fact that women choose to spend more time at home with their children, its more often the inability of women themselves to put themselves first and be more demanding. Men have no qualms about putting themselves forward for a position they aren’t fully qualified for, women are on the whole less likely to be direct and ask for a pay rise or promotion even if they are deserving.
If there’s anything I’ve learnt over the years, it’s make sure you understand your value to the organisation, and make sure everyone else understands it too.
Don’t be afraid to stand your ground and act more like a man when it comes to open positions, asking for a pay rise, or gunning for promotion. As individual women, we have just as much responsibility as the industry to close the pay gap – no one is going to do it for us.
If this is a subject that you care about, you might consider completing the CIPR's survey on the subject to explore more about what holds women in PR back from earning more.
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