Marketing Week’s annual Career and Salary Survey reveals pay parity between men and women is getting worse rather than better.
Despite efforts to focus on diversity and supporting women to succeed in the industry, the pay gap between male and female marketers has widened from 20.8% in 2016 to 22.4% in 2017.
“I’m disappointed that the gap is that big,” says Annabel Venner, global brand director at insurance provider Hiscox. “There’s a huge number of steps being taken in the right direction and this year firms will have to publish figures of their pay gaps, so there’s a lot more scrutiny. But I’m genuinely surprised [because looking at businesses where I have worked] I have never seen that gap before in peer like-for-like roles.”
The survey shows women are paid less than men in every marketing role, except the most junior assistant positions. Women in partner or business owner roles see the biggest pay gap, earning an average of £49,524, 53% less than men, who take home £75,729 a year.
A female senior marketing executive typically earns 34% less than a male (£31,343 versus £41,957), while a senior female marketing manager takes home 12% less (£52,941 versus £59,549).
The only role in marketing where women earn more than men – just 7% more – is assistant (£21,397 versus £19,815).
Female marketers are also consistently paid less than men across every sector, from automotive to retail, tech and travel.
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The biggest average gender pay gap is in health and pharmaceuticals (see chart below), where women earn 45% less than men on average (£39,661 versus £57,466). Female marketers in the fashion industry are paid 43% less than men (£40,529 versus £58,060). The situation is not much better for women working at a media owner, who with an average annual salary of £42,167 take home 37% less than men at £57,788.
The three industries closest to gender pay parity are education (£42,730 versus £38,026), the public sector (£50,580 versus £45,135) and gambling and gaming (£66,316 versus £59,464), where women earn 12% less on average.
Marketing should be leading in this regard as the discipline is about connection and inclusion.
Pete Markey, Aviva
It is hardly surprising, then, that 63.2% of women would consider a change of job for better financial remuneration, especially as receiving fair financial reward is important to 98.1% of female marketers. Yet less than half (49.6%) of women questioned believe their company is recompensing them fairly financially.
“It is very sad and shows we have a long way to go,” says Aviva’s brand communications and marketing director, Pete Markey. “Marketing should be leading in this regard as the discipline is about connection and inclusion, and we need a diverse workforce to represent the target customer.
“The make-up of the workforce has to be representative of Britain today; if it’s not, you will fall behind competitively,” he adds.
The fear that the gender pay gap will discourage women from entering marketing or persuade them to leave the sector completely is a worry for Åsa Caap, CEO and co-founder of Our/Vodka, a community-based vodka brand within the Pernod Ricard group. “It makes me sad when I hear this. Women are in many ways well suited to marketing, so it would be very sad if they left the sector. Salary should not be an issue in 2017. It’s ridiculous, it’s so old.”
The gender pay gap could be a contributing factor for the 27.7% of female marketers who are not at all happy or quite unhappy in their jobs, as well as the 15.8% who feel indifferent about their role.
The survey reveals 82.9% of both male and female marketers are planning to change job over the next one to three years, with 4% considering a move out of marketing completely. The biggest inducement to move job is better financial remuneration (65.5%), followed by the search for a new challenge (58%) and limited opportunities at the current workplace (40.9%).
Nearly a quarter (22%) of women would consider moving to a workplace that offers flexible working, compared with 14.4% of men. Flexible working is a bigger issue for women, 90.3% of whom consider it important versus 79% of men. That being said, flexible working is high on the agenda for marketers across the board, up four percentage points to 86% in 2017.
Of the total sample, 38.3% of marketers currently have the option of flexible working, though just 31.1% have taken up the offer. Flexible working is built into the culture at Our/Vodka, explains Caap, who believes offering people flexibility is the best way to encourage loyalty.
“I don’t really care when and how everyone works, the delivery is the important thing. When you give people flexibility and responsibility for their own time and delivering in their own way, they become super loyal. I have hardly ever seen anyone miss a deadline, because they cherish that responsibility and they want to give back.”
The expectation that everyone in a team has to sit in the same office is “old fashioned” Caap adds, especially when marketing teams often span different countries.
I don’t really care when and how everyone works, the delivery is the important thing.
Åsa Caap, Our/Vodka
The desire for flexible working could be in response to the fact marketers continue to work beyond their contracted hours. As many as 27.1% of respondents work between 2.5 to 5 extra hours each week, with 16.3% putting in an extra 5.5 to 7.5 hours weekly.
Sabbaticals or career breaks are also important to 45% of marketers (52.9% of women, 34.2% men), despite only being available to 7.4% of respondents. Of those, just 0.4% have taken the opportunity for a career break. Whereas 30.3% of men and 31.5% of women have used flexible working, a mere 0.2% and 0.5% have taken a career break.
Employees who have worked at Hiscox for a decade are offered a 10- to 12-week sabbatical from the business, which is taken by more than 90% of eligible employees. Venner can, however, understand why marketers in general might still be hesitant to take a career break.
“If you have a career break, the majority might be unpaid, so in people’s minds it’s a lovely thing to do but when it comes down to the reality of having six months off unpaid what does that mean? It’s important to a lot of people, but [they] will be nervous about missing their salary.
“People are also still worried about what happens when they’re away. Will they miss me? What will it be like when I come back?”
However, Caap is convinced that taking a career break not only made her a better leader, but that she would not have founded her own business without it.
She credits Sweden’s policy of generous maternity and paternity leave as helping foster a strong culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. It was during her first maternity leave that she devised the idea for Our/Vodka.
“There is research in Sweden proving the entrepreneurial startup scene here is one of the biggest in the world because of parental leave. Usually you work until you’re 65- to 70-years-old and you never have a break, so you don’t have any distance. You never really reflect on anything,” explains Caap.
“The reason innovation is big in Sweden is that parental leave gives you time to reflect on things and come up with different perspectives and when people go back to work they are refreshed.”
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