43% of women in Corporate Comms are unhappy with their pay

09 Sep 2019

Gender pay gap – heightened awareness

Gender equality has taken a more central role in the political and cultural discourse in recent years, and one of the chief targets in the fight for gender equality is undoubtedly the
gender pay gap. The average pay gap in communications is more than £5,000 as reported by the CIPR in their report, The State of the Profession 2019.

When pay disparities are apparent in both PR agencies and in-house corporate communications teams, this ‘unhappiness’ prevails across what is a female-dominated industry.

Flexibility options

Many women who have children find standard office hours incompatible with childcare provision. Flexible working simply isn’t being flexible enough in our client service industry and as our survey showed, 80% of communications professionals (men and women) ranked this aspect of their working culture as either important or very important. How can we expect working mothers to juggle so much, push for promotion and aim for the board when there are still employers not offering any flexibility in working hours?

Keeping quiet

Women do tend to hide their achievements, or shrink from promoting their skills. They don’t want to seem big-headed, pushy or arrogant so they assume people will notice their achievements without them being pointed out.

What do women need to do?

Women, quite simply, make your voice heard! Make note of your achievements and make them known to the decision makers. Voice your unhappiness based on facts – facts
about the market rates for your role, facts about achievements and your value to your business. If your employer is overlooking you and the situation isn’t going to change, then there is no need to put up with it. Moving jobs can increase your pay by an average of 12%, which will go some way to rectifying differences.

We asked a Partner from a well-known corporate reputation agency for her thoughts on her pay.

“I know I have been paid less than male counterparts throughout my working career. I blame two major factors: one is that although I’m a very tough negotiator in my work, for the majority of my career I have not been when it comes to asking for a pay rise.

The other is having taken nine months off twice for maternity leave, I and my female friends put too much weight on being grateful for being working mums rather than fighting for the equal pay we deserve. I can’t even attribute this to flexibility because I have always worked full-time. You get 20 years into your career and wonder why 18 months off left you years behind your male equivalents.”

What do employers need to do?

Employers need to remain mindful that a person’s mental health is also impacted by their financial wellbeing. To a certain extent, the amount of money we earn does have a direct impact on our happiness. We need to be earning enough to be comfortable, and even beyond this, salary correlates somewhat to happiness. This doesn’t mean however
that the more you pay your employees, the happier they automatically become. Do not assume that you can just throw more money at your employees, and end up with a happy workforce. If you are paying employees unfairly in comparison with one another, they will be unhappy regardless of what their rate is.

We shared the findings of our survey with PR Week and they ran the following insightful feature on the rising tide of dissatisfaction among women:

Exclusive: Survey shows rising tide of dissatisfaction among women in PR

To download a copy of The Works Search’s Salary Guide, click here.

Salary Survey 2018 - 2019