Your gaping gender pay gap in media and advertising 

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 27 February 2024
Credit: Sammie Chaffin via Unsplash

Some of the biggest players in media and advertising have gaping holes where gender pay equity should sit.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has for the first time published the gender pay gaps for nearly 5,000 Australian private sector employers.

The agency 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%.

In the advertising service sector, men are paid on average 14.6% more than women.

One commentator described the continuing dominance of men in senior executive positions as startling.

The Australian arm of WPP, the world's largest advertising group, reportedly has a median base pay gender pay gap of 19.2%.

At the other end of the scale, Omnicom Media Group has a gap of  0.3% and the median total remuneration gap is 0%.

Mediabrands Australia is also listed with a gap of 0%.

“This is a very positive result for Mediabrands and acknowledges the tremendous amount of work we’ve done in this space in the past few years," says Mark Coad, CEO IPG Mediabrands Australia. 

"While we certainly acknowledge there is still more work to be done to continue to advance equality, our action plan and gender equality focus areas are focussed on continuing to move the dial in the right direction when it comes to the Gender Pay Gap.”

And at outdoor media specialist oOh!media, women earn 2.2% more than men.

“oOh! strives to maintain an industry leading position in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI),” says CEO Cathy O’Connor, one of just 22% female chief executives in Australia.

“Beyond this result, we remain focused on driving positive change for women, which will continue to support our position on gender pay equity.” 

The median base salary gender pay gap, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency numbers:

  • WPP 19.2% (total remuneration 16.4%)
  • GroupM 14.7%
  • Dentsu Management Services 18.2% (total remuneration 18.1%)
  • Publicis Communication 13% (total remuneration 12.2%)
  • Publicis Sapient 7.2% (total remuneration 11.3%)
  • M&C Saatchi 9.3% (total remuneration 9.2%)
  • Enero 9.6% (total remuneration 9.8%)
  • Howatson+Company 25.4% (total remuneration 25.5%)
  • Clemenger Group 1% (total remuneration 0.7%)
  • Mediabrands Australia 0%
  • Omnicom Media Group 0.3% (total remuneration 0%) 
  • Nationwide News (News Corp Australia) 9.4%
  • Nine Entertainment 13.4% (total remuneration 10.1%)
  • Seven West Media 10.8% (total remuneration 13.8%)
  • SCA 5.6% (total remuneration 5.9%)
  • Nova 9% (total remuneration 6%)
  • Foxtel 8.4% (total remuneration 9.8%)
  • TikTok Australia 15.3% (total remuneration 19.9%)
  • Facebook Australia -1.7% (total remuneration -2.6%)
  • Google Australia 3.7% (total remuneration 14.9%)
  • oOh!media Operations -9.9% (total remuneration -15.7%)
  • JCDecaux -1.8% (total remuneration -7.3%)

WPP has 60% women and 41.7% of the Australian executive leadership team are women.

“We are moving in the right direction,” says Rose Herceg, WPP Australia & New Zealand president.

WPP’s overall median total remuneration pay gap  in Australia reduced from 23.7% in 2022 to 20.8% (-2.9%) in 2023. 

Enero Group says its workforce is made up of 63% females and the average total remuneration pay gap in Australia is -1.4% in favour of women, versus the industry standard of 16.1% in favour of men.

"In acknowledging our progress reflected in the WGEA gender pay gap regarding our median total remuneration, we recognise that while it’s not perfect, it signifies a meaningful step in the right direction in ensuring there is no gap," says Nikki Harrison, chief people & culture officer.

“As we continuously emphasise the importance of equality, and are continuously working to create a progressive, inclusive, and fair workplace for all, our commitment to closing the gap remains resolute.”

TrinityP3 Global Marketing Management noted the release of the data comes as the media and marketing industry struggles with female representation in their senior ranks, particularly at the board and senior management level.

“Today’s release of the employer gender pay data is an important moment in understanding the ongoing disparity of pay for women in the workforce. The data shines a real light of transparency on the pay gap,” says Lydia Feely, GM at TrinityP3. 

“This gap isn’t surprising when you look at both the senior management level and boards of major media and advertising companies, in particular in key roles like Key Management Personnel, Heads of Business or General Managers.

"The dominance of men in these roles remains startling.

“The reality is there is still a significant disparity. It has improved in recent decades but without a strong focus from the senior ranks the gap won’t close any further."

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