PR's ethnic and gender pay gaps: provide your data for major PRWeek project

UK PR agencies are urged to provide data on their ethnicity and gender pay gaps as part of a major new initiative from PRWeek and People Like Us, supported by the PRCA and Women in PR.

(Image: Andrii Zastrozhnov via Getty)
(Image: Andrii Zastrozhnov via Getty)

In-house comms professionals of different ethnic backgrounds and genders are also encouraged to provide information on their salaries, to shine a light on pay gaps that exist in the UK comms industry.

The project requires agencies to complete a detailed questionnaire, which can be accessed by clicking here.

The results will be collated and rankings tables published by PRWeek in September 2021. A formula will be used to create a score for each agency relating to the ethnicity and gender pay gaps.

No monetary figures from individual agencies will be published; only percentages related to individual agencies, to highlight gaps.

A separate, anonymous questionnaire is focused on in-house comms professionals: click here to access it.

Data here will be aggregated to provide a picture of pay gaps that exist across in-house comms. As an incentive, 10 entrants chosen at random will receive free tickets to PRWeek's PR360 event in 2022.

The deadline for completing both the agency and in-house questionnaires is 5pm on Wednesday 28 July.

Recent research for PRWeek UK Top 150 Consultancies project found one in five UK PR agencies employ no non-white staff at all, and almost 80 per cent had all-white boards.

The research also found that the composition of agency boards was split roughly evenly between men and women, despite the fact women account for about two-thirds of the workforce.

Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder of People Like Us, the networking group for minority ethnic professionals working in media and marketing communications, said: “It shouldn’t be too much to ask that employees, regardless of their gender and race, are paid equally, but that’s where we find ourselves right now. This pay gap survey is a vital step to address the inequity that exists in our industry.

"This accolade is perhaps more prestigious than most – it recognises organisations that are walking the walk. We’re hoping that while some may not have it right, going through the process of understanding where the gaps lie will go some way to addressing the disparity. More broadly, it will allow the industry to identify the scale of the problem, and collectively work through best steps on how we can address it.”

Michael Levaggi, co-founder of the One Percent, said: "This survey isn't aimed at naming and shaming, but realising the size and scale of the pay gap problem so we can do something about it. We can't fix the lack of diversity in our industry overnight, but this, People Like Us, The Blueprint and The One Percent are all iniatives aimed at making us come together to tackle the problem, and championing the agencies that are performing best."

Barbara Phillips, chair of the PRCA's Race and Ethnicity Equity Board (REEB), said: “Any leaders and organisations claiming to want an inclusive culture absolutely need to complete the survey and to use the PRCA REEB's Ethnicity Pay Gap guide as a reference point.

“We cannot create the change the industry needs until we normalise pay gap reporting. Leaders need to be prepared to be uncomfortable with the findings. Then act to close the gaps. Let’s stop pretending they don’t exist and push our industry forward,” she added.

“The latest PRCA data shows that the current PR gender pay gap is 13.6 per cent overall, so we know there is still more to be done to ensure equality here,” said Women in PR president Anna Geffert. “Currently only a third of UK employers collect ethnicity data and just 82 UK-based companies have publicly reported their data. None are from the PR sector… yet!

"Although Women In PR applauds moves like these pay gap surveys for holding a mirror up to the industry, we recognise that agency and in-house leaders have to take action in order to ensure their talent pipeline better reflects the clients, companies and communities that they serve.”

PRWeek UK editor John Harrington said: "Lack of diversity remains a big problem in the UK comms industry, especially in the most senior roles, and there is no silver bullet to making PR more diverse. But we believe transparency is important for addressing the issues. That's why we're urging PR agencies to come forward and provide their data on gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

"We appreciate that pay gaps are a difficult topic – almost every agency will have them at some levels of the organisation. But taking part in the pay gap survey will be a sign that they are taking the topic seriously and want to take steps to improve.

"It's also hugely important to understand pay gaps that exist within in-house comms, so we urge all in-house professionals to spend two or three minutes completing that survey."

* Click here to access the agency questionnaire

* Click here to access the in-house questionnaire

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