The thorny question of remuneration is in the news today, as the High Pay Centre analysis of annual reports found that the salaries of chief executives in the FTSE 100 had increased more than 10% last year compared to the previous year. It’d be interesting to know whether their respective company revenues and profits grew similarly, don’t you think?
Are you surprised though, to hear that of the five female chief executives within the FTSE 100, none were within the top ten best paid (and that’s data from 2014 and 2015). Funnily enough, according to The Times today, “ten companies…had no female executive directors and no women on the remuneration committees that draw up plans for pay and bonuses.” So, not only is it tough for women to get to the top, if you do get there chances are you won’t be paid the same as your male counterparts. And for most of us, how would you even know that you aren’t being rewarded in the same way, especially when it comes to discretionary elements of remuneration packages such as performance related bonuses?
The 2016 PRCA (Public Relations Consultants Association) looked at (amongst other things) the influence of gender on salary and remuneration in a survey of 1,874 people carried out by YouGov. Across the board, women earned an average of £9,000 less than men – and where people were given a bonus, the average given to women was approximately £4,000, compared to an average of £6,000 for men. Some of the differences can be explained by the fact that there are more men than women working at a senior level within PR agencies. As PR Week reported, in agencies women outnumbered men by three to one among the junior ranks, but two-thirds of board directors or partners were men.
A quick look at the WPP 2015 Annual Report reinforces the seniority issue. Women made up 29% of the board and 33% of staff working at director or executive leadership level, set against an overall 54% of employees. Similar numbers abound at other media holding companies. So, women are entering the industry in ever-increasing numbers but not making it to the higher levels of leadership in the same numbers as men.
There’s a belief amongst some Millennials that the gender gap is a generation gap, and that as Millennials increasingly climb the corporate ladder, the number of women in leadership roles will automatically even out, but that’s not going to happen without sustained support. Most of the big agencies and holding companies have been putting in place programmes designed to engage with women, provide role models and networking opportunities (Publicis has VivaWomen, Omnicom has Omniwomen – you get the picture) so change is definitely coming, but there’s a lot more to be done.
As with so many things, knowledge is power, so if you don’t know whether you’re being rewarded appropriately for what you do, make it your business to find out. Check in with trusted peers, speak to your HR department if you have one and if all else fails, have a chat with a friendly recruiter to benchmark what you’re worth. There’s nothing wrong with negotiating, or for deciding to settle a little under market value if other aspects of the job you do outweigh the purely financial, but if you don’t know where you sit vs the rest of the world, you’re not in the best position to make the right decision for you. Good luck – and remember, you’re worth it.