Good news: Gender pay gap in media agencies is just 1%

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 18 November 2016

The creative and media industry has much better pay equality than the 23% gender pay gap the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) published this week, according to both the Communcations Council and the Media Federation of Australia. 

The MFA has shared data from its 2016 salary survey that shows just a 1% gender pay gap across all levels, in all media agency roles. As AdNews reported earlier this week, the WGEA report doesn't split out this industry specifically but found that the national average across industries shows women earn 23% less than men on average.

The MFA looks at its salary data differently to the way the WGEA report calculates the gender pay gap, but in response to an AdNews enquiry following the national report it looked again at its data.

it says the 1% figure represents a calculation of the mean average salary for every media role and widens only very slightly at senior management roles.

Sophie Madden, CEO of the MFA tells AdNews: “The pay gap between males and females in the media agency industry is only 1%, based on the MFA’s 2016 report.  Our members have been working hard to address diversity and gender equality in their businesses and whilst there is always more we can do, it is great to be able to report such positive progress in our industry.”

The Media Federation of Australia's next salary survey is due at the end of quarter one in 2017.

The Communications Council's salary survey results and analysis is also due to be published in Q1 next year but the body's CEO Tony Hale says he doesn’t believe it will reveal as big as pay gap as the WGEA survey found either.

Anecdotally, most hiring and talent officers say they hire for a position with the salary advertised and awarded no matter who gets the role.

It's also thought that the creative industry would fair better than the WGEA report in terms of women in senior leadership roles.

“Our annual salary survey has data on over 3,800 jobs in the industry. The data has only just arrived and we intend to analyse it with the intention of releasing a report in Q1 2017. It is premature to speculate the extent of any pay gap but from our current knowledge of the industry, we would not expect it to be anywhere near the 23% reported by WGEA,” says Hale.

The CommsCouncil diversity council is also working on a number of projects to address the issue.

The creative industry has an issue with a lack of female creatives which will likely drag down the findings around pay, but it's positive to note that expectations are the industry has a narrower pay gap than other industries.

Clemenger BBDO Sydney MD Emily Perrett told AdNews earlier this week that the agency has been analysing its salaries for four years to identify and strip out any gender discrepancies for equal roles and has an equal pay structure across all departments.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for a gender pay gap to exist in an agency - at all,” she said. .

The WGEA report is a national report, which provides a gender equality “scorecard”. It also found that women are still under-represented in leadership roles and board positions. Just 16% of CEOs are women and 37% of managerial roles are held by women.

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