‘Pay parity is not just about gender’

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 3 April 2024
Jessica Farrell and Pauly Grant.

A gender pay gap is not the only focus for Publicis Groupe.

The holdco is equally concerned with all factors that can cause misrepresentation in pay.

In February the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's (WGEA) launched its inaugural gender pay report which showed the gender pay gaps for nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers.

WGEA says employers should aim for a gap of 5% plus or minus. But across all employers, 50% have a gender pay gap of more than 9.1%.

And within the industry category for agencies, professional services, the medium was 26%.

Over the last three years of reporting its data to WGEA, Publicis has seen its gender pay gap halved. 

In 2021 Publicis Groupe Australia sat at 21%, in 2023 it had 13% (total remuneration 12.2%).

Publicis Groupe chief talent officer ANZ Pauly Grant told AdNews the holdco has put a lot of focus into improving that number over the last four years. 

“We want to be higher up that chain for sure, and moving forward the focus that we've had over the last six months is really going to help us get there quicker,” Pauly said.

Publicis Groupe GM of people & culture Jessica Farrell was promoted as the head of DE&I last year to reinforce the holdco’s focus on diversity.

Farrell told AdNews that the WGEA data does confuse people because it is providing what's called an uncontrolled gap.

“If you're looking at any person in any part of the organisation often that gap can be quite large. But if you're applying controls, like a job function or location where that employee sits, often that gap can be considered further,” Farrell said.

“Someone that works in finance should never really be compared to somebody that works in business development, [or someone] that works in a creative team.

“Because they have completely different roles and different salary expectations as a result.”

So to apply controls the holdco partners with Syndio a workplace equality analytics platform that identifies inequalities in compensation, representation and promotion to help close pay equity.

Currently Publicis only uses the platform to track gender pay parity but towards the end of next year the Groupe will be looking at how other underrepresented groups are tracking.

“It would be a real mistake for us to not consider the other factors that can cause misrepresentation in a pay gap,” Farrell said.


So despite gender pay parity being a target, the holdco is equally concerned about pay parity for every characteristic that makes up a person, which could potentially negatively impact pay or a promotion.

“When we talk about pay parity… it's not just about the gender pay gap, right?” Farrell said.

“There might be pay inequalities for women of colour or there might be inconsistencies in pay for people who have a disability.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion [DE&I] is about looking at the entire makeup of somebody - so we really want to look at the intersectionality of all those things, to ensure people can really show up as their authentic self.”

Pay parity is absolutely part of creating an inclusive workplace, but it's one part of a much bigger DE&I sphere that Publicis looks at Pauly said.

Publicis has five employee resource groups (ERGs) including: 

  • VivaWomen! for people that identify as a woman.
  • Égalité for the rainbow community.
  • EnABLE for the disability community.
  • EMBRACE for First Nations people.
  • And most recently Écologique, an environmental sustainability group.

But the real goal for Publicis is to ensure all of these individual initiatives are brought together for a holistic DE&I.

“We’re ensuring these groups don't just sit in isolation from one another because one person can actually identify in all of those groups,” Farrell said.

One initiative recently launched to encourage diverse career progression is coaching with a dedicated career coach.

Since its launch as part of the Groupe’s Connected Careers program, 83% of attendees have been women and as a result it is encouraging more women to progress their careers to get into high roles.

Publicis is also working on broadening its inclusive recruitment practices.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus