Middle East gender pay gap 'significant' in female-dominated profession - PR Census

The inaugural PRCA Middle East PR and Communications Census shows men have an average household income that is nearly 50 per cent higher than women.

A significant gender pay gap exists in Middle East PR (©GettyImages)
A significant gender pay gap exists in Middle East PR (©GettyImages)

While the majority of PR professionals in the Middle East are female, women are still less likely to occupy senior roles and their earning potential remains significantly lower than their male counterparts.

The Middle East PR and Communications Census – launching tomorrow (11 December) at the MENA digital conference – found that about 71 per cent of PR professionals in the region are women. The average total net (i.e. post-tax) annual household income per respondent is $76,300 per annum.

Yet, male respondents report an average household income of $97,500 (£74,200), nearly 50 per cent higher than female respondents’ average of $67,400 (£51,200) – representing a significant gender pay gap.

By comparison, this year's UK Census revealed there was a 14 per cent gender pay gap. Data from the inaugural APAC Census – revealed last month – evidenced a 30 per cent pay gap in Singapore, and strongly suggested such a gap existed in Australia and other markets.

PRCA MENA regional board member Suzanne Talhouk, general manager (Levant) for H+K Strategies, said: "It is a shame to still see this gender gap in a female-dominated profession. It is very disappointing."

Maria Cohn, managing director of strategic communications for FTI Consulting, added: "The industry, globally, is predominantly female. We should, however, work on retaining that female talent as they make their way into more senior roles, which remains a challenge also in this region."

Respondents to the survey were predominantly young, with a median age of 34.

The survey also found the workforce is cosmopolitan, with respondents holding a total of 31 different nationalities covering every continent apart from Antarctica, while 71 per cent speak a second language.

Less than a third (30 per cent) of practitioners are nationals of the MENA region.

Alex Malouf, corporate communications manager for Procter & Gamble, said: "This highlights that we’re struggling to attract Arabic talent in the Gulf, which is concerning because Arab nationals best understand this region’s cultures and practices, and therefore its audiences. We need to educate Arab youth on the opportunities of PR careers as an industry."

Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief (UK and EMEA) for PRWeek, said: "Think about your hiring processes and what are you doing to make sure that your PR team reflects not just your local community but the audiences you seek to engage?"

Almost all (93 per cent) of PR practitioners had been to university - with nearly a third of those having taken a higher degree such as a Masters. The most common subjects studied were business/management and public relations.

Check out PRWeek tomorrow (11 December) for more findings from the inaugural PRCA Middle East Census.

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