Study reveals global PR gender pay gap and points finger at women's 'lack of confidence'

Women continue to significantly trail men in the PR industry in terms of senior roles and salaries, despite accounting for two thirds of the sector's workforce.

That’s according to new data compiled by Global Women in PR (GWPR), which found that 78 per cent of CEOs in the top 30 global PR agencies are men, and men account for 62 per cent of seats at the PR boardroom table.

Comparing like-for-like roles, the average salary for men in PR is $61,284 (£46,156) compared to women $55,212 (£41,584), revealing a gender pay gap of $6,072 (£4,572).

The gender pay gap is greater at boardroom level, with more than double the proportion of men (28 per cent) earning over $150,000 (£113,700), compared to just 12 per cent of women.

The survey, carried out by Onepoll of 757 PR professionals in 19 countries, also points to a 'confidence gap' between the genders.

While 17 per cent of men are "very confident" asking for a promotion or pay rise, just 11 per cent of women feel the same. A quarter (26 per cent) of women are "not very confident" asking for a promotion or pay rise; for men, the figure is 13 per cent.

While 28 per cent of men think they will "definitely" reach the top of the career ladder, just 18 per cent of women hold the same belief.

Held back by home commitments

When women were asked what was holding them back in their career, the top responses were: "it would be too difficult to juggle the demands of a boardroom role with my home and family commitments" (34 per cent) and "I’m not confident enough" (30 per cent).

The survey showed clear support for flexible working, with 56 per cent of respondents saying they could do their job just as efficiently if they didn’t have a fixed office work space.

In addition, 81 per cent said they felt they would be just as efficient if they could choose the hours they worked - the global PR industry average working week was found to be 44 hours.

GWPR co-founder Angela Oakes said: "The PR industry needs to shape up to a newer, more modern way of working. This in turn will help women better manage the demands of work and family commitments so they are given the chance to reach the top of the career ladder.

"The other clear issue raised by the survey is women’s lack of confidence. We know that gender stereotypes are determined at a very young age and there are social implications. However, one solution is mentoring and training women to build confidence."

Francis Ingham, CEO of ICCO, the umbrella group for national PR trade bodies, said: "It’s imperative that we address the gender gap, so we can retain talented women in the PR industry."

A recent poll of Women in PR members in the UK found half believed there had been no improvement in gender pay equality in the industry in the past year. Two thirds of respondents to that survey also said they wanted more employers to support flexible working.

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