More than half of top comms operators in FTSE 100 are women

Just over half of the corporate affairs directors at FTSE 100 firms are woman, and increasing numbers sit on their firms' executive committees, according to research by an executive recruiter.

Women outnumber men in top comms jobs (Credit: Thinkstock)
Women outnumber men in top comms jobs (Credit: Thinkstock)

The new Watson Helsby FTSE 100 Group Director of Corporate Communications/Affairs Survey is published this week. It finds that 81 of the UK's 100 biggest listed firms employ a group corporate comms or corporate affairs director.

The 19 that don't include b2b firms with relatively low public profiles, in which the lead comms operator is often a less-senior employee working under investor relations, it says.

The first time Watson Helsby's annual survey included a gender breakdown was 2015, when 44 per cent of corporate affairs chiefs were women.

That figure rose to 47 per cent in 2016, and this year has jumped again, to 51 per cent.

As of the end of March, when the study was finalised, 51 per cent of corporate affairs directors were on their company's executive committee, up from 47 per cent last year.

The study also found evidence of a large gap between the average salaries of corporate affairs directors in the top 20 firms in the FTSE 100 (£380,000), and those further down the rankings. For FTSE 21-50 companies it was £265,000, and for FTSE 51-100 it was £210,000.

The study also shows that the comms teams in the FTSE's top 20 have an average of 280 staff, a figure that falls to 75 for the next 30 firms, and to 28 for those in the bottom half of the FTSE 100.

The full report is available on the Watson Helsby website.

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