Agencies large enough to publicly report include Edelman, Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy, Hill+Knowlton and FTI Consulting.
The average reverse pay gap at Golin is 12.8 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent last year. The median gender pay gap at Golin has risen to 7.7 per cent in favour of women, up from 4.6 per cent last year.
The median figures reflect the middle salary of an agency and are a better indicator of the disparity in pay between rank-and-file workers. The mean is often skewed by the proportion of men and women in senior executive and low-paying roles.
Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K) and Weber Shandwick are the next-best-performing agencies in terms of narrowing the gender pay gap.
In the case of H+K, the median salary is 2.4 per cent in favour of women, down from 3.9 per cent last year, while the average pay gap is 15.4 per cent in favour of men, which is an improvement on the 18.4 per cent average pay gap a year ago.
H+K chief executive Simon Whitehead told PRWeek: "We are working to transform our culture from the inside out in the areas of creativity and equality. Enabling a strongly diversified and inclusive workforce drives our ability to do the most creative and most impactful work for our clients in our specialist areas of expertise."
The agency that reported the largest pay gap was FTI Consulting, which had a median pay gap of 32.2 per cent and an average pay gap of 32.1 percent. FTI Consulting provides services beyond PR that are historically male-dominated, such as corporate finance and restructuring, economic consulting, forensic and litigation consulting and technology.
Reports for BCW and FleishmanHillard – agencies that are around the 250-employee and above threshold – had no filed reports at the time this article was published.
FleishmanHillard told PRWeek that no single entity of our business meets the size requirement to upload to the government portal but it reports these figures internally. BCW told PRWeek it reports the figures to its parent holding company WPP.
Flexibie working is key
A reason why Golin performs so well is that it has a high proportion (68 per cent) of women who are paid in the top quartile of salaries. This reflects the proportion of women who work in PR.
Golin London MD Bibi Hilton is also the president of Women in PR and champions gender pay equality internally.
"Creating a progressive, equal and diverse Golin culture is not only the right thing to do, but is critical to growing our business and doing the best strategic and creative work," Hilton told PRWeek.
"We’ve achieved a reverse gender pay gap by supporting women throughout their careers with us: offering flexible working; enhanced parental leave; being open to flexibility in new roles and using rigorous benchmarking based around an individual’s value versus their current salary to prevent women carrying a salary gap with them.
This means we have access to outstanding, senior-level female talent who may otherwise be overlooked."
Executive director Sophie Hodgson recently joined Golin and said that a major draw was the flexibility the agency offers.
"Flexibility is hugely important to me. I have a young family and don't see why being a working mum should mean I have to compromise on my career in any way," she said.
"When I was looking for a new job a couple of agencies wouldn't even meet for coffee because of my flexibility requirements, but Golin embraced them because it's simply part of their culture. Being judged on how long you're at your desk is so outdated, it should be your performance and the value you bring to the role that matters."