PRWeek Top 150: Agency gender balance changes little

The gender balance across UK PR agencies was almost unchanged in 2020, with women accounting for c.50 per cent of board members and just under two thirds of the overall workforce, research by PRWeek suggests.


Data for PRWeek's UK Top 150 Consultancies project found the mean average gender split on agency boards in 2020 was 49.8 per cent/50.2 per cent in favour of men.

The full Top 150 UK PR Consultancies Report can be viewed here

In 2019, the split was 49.7 per cent/50.3 per cent, with men again accounting for a very slim majority. In total, 179 agencies provided data relating to 2020, and 174 did so for 2019.

Across the workforce, on average women accounted for 64.1 per cent of UK PR agency employees in 2020, up a fraction on 2019 (63.9 per cent) - 180 agencies provided data on this point.

It meant there is an average 14.3 percentage point gap between the proportion of women in the agency workforce overall and the proportion on agency boards.

A number of respondents detailed actions they have taken around gender diversity.

Hanover says: "Although 50 per cent of leadership positions across the wider business are held by females, this is imbalanced across offices as just 33 per cent of senior positions are held by females in London. By the end of 2021, we will aim to have females in 50 per cent of leadership roles in London, with particular attention spent to redress the balance in those teams with an under-representation, ie: advocacy and corporate."

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Consumer agency Fever says its board became 100 per cent female for the first time in its 11 year history in 2020, following the departure in 2019 of long-standing MD Bruce McLachlan, who was replaced by Caroline Farley, and the appointment of finance director Lidiya Pogoryelova.

A PRWeek podcast from March 2021 looked at the impact of COVID-19 on women's careers in the comms industry. Click here for more.

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