Pay gap between black and white influencers stands at 22 per cent

A new report by MSL UK has found a pay gap of 22 per cent when the fees paid to black influencers are compared to those of their white counterparts.

The MSL UK report on influencer pay, as well as revealing a 22 per cent pay gap between black and white influencers, also highlighted that when negotiating fees, white influencers are nearly three times more likely to generate a positive outcome than their black counterparts.

MSL UK managing partner Neil Kleiner said: “Uncovering the UK racial pay gap was unsettling but not surprising. The report highlights the prevalence of the issue across the board, and we hope reporting this will increase the chance of industry change.

“Tonight we launch the report in London at an event that includes influencers, talent agents, brands and agencies.  Space is extremely limited, but if you would like to attend, please contact me.”

The research for the Just Influence 2022 report polled 600 UK influencers with a range of ethnic backgrounds, ages and abilities. It follows PRWeek's report into pay gaps across PR.

Tinuke Bernard, blogger and founder of the Black Influencer Directory, said it was “clear to see that although different ethnicities, ages and abilities are being recognised, we are still not deemed equal or as valuable to the brand as our younger, whiter, more able-bodied counterparts.

“Brands and PRs sometimes still use the line ‘You’re not speaking to our target market’, but we are living in a world where time and time again, we are proving that to be untrue.”

In addition to racial disparities, MSL UK looked at the correlation between pay and disability and age.

The report found that influencers aged 30-45 reported earning 154 per cent less than those between 18-30. Influencers who define themselves as living with a long-term mental or physical condition were found to earn 23 per cent less per post.

The report also said the biggest driver of inequality and exclusion is a lack of pay transparency in an unregulated industry that is only just beginning to reach maturity, and that 52 per cent of the influencers don’t have a payment formula to set rates – often determining their worth by seeking peer advice.

A respondent to the Just Influence survey said: “We all saw how a lot of brands acted during the BLM boom and then went back to their old ways. I make the most money during Black History Month and then won’t hear from that brand/platform until the next year.”

The report was conducted in partnership with Tinuke Bernard of the Black Influencers Directory, and SevenSix Agency.

MSL US released an equivalent report in 2021 with The Influencer League. Its research found that 79 per cent of black influencers felt comfortable posting on DEI issues and 90 per cent were passionate about issues of race. However, 59 per cent felt they were negatively impacted financially when they posted on these issues.

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