Seven questions to ask your employer about the gender pay gap

Vanessa Liell
By Vanessa Liell | 29 February 2024
Vanessa Liell.

Vanessa Liell, co-founder Orizontas & Rethink Everything. Fellow, Communication and Public Relations Australia (CPRA)

The first mandatory reporting on private sector businesses with more than 100 employees landed this week. It’s over 50 years since women won the right to equal pay for the same work however yesterday’s data released by WGEA shows nationally a 14.5% gap in women’s median base salary rising to 21.7% including bonuses.

While the advertising and communication industry is prolific in marketing gender and diversity initiatives, up until now there has been a lack of robust data that provides the transparency required for meaningful change. WGEA’s report is a great first step in providing both leaders and employees with the facts about the gender pay gap.

The greater challenge is how to close it.

Last year, Women in Media’s  (WIM) Industry Insight Report 2023, that includes the media, marketing and communication industry,  found the majority of women (54%) continue to be unsure or explicitly dissatisfied of the progress of their careers in our industry.

According to WIM’s Strategic Advisor Petra Buchanan “..with an entrenched gender pay gap above the national average and increased bias and discrimination, nearly one-third of women are considering leaving their jobs in media. It's a critical moment for employers and the media industry to step up; the departure of women from media is a loss society cannot afford.”

The most senior, well-paid roles in our industry are still occupied by men. The barriers to accessing these roles is what’s driving an exodus of women from our industry and the gender pay gap.

WGEA’s report has released the data by employer. Ideally it prompts robust discussion within workplaces and a solid review of initiatives in place. The question is whether employers are willing to invest what’s require to effect change.

Closing the gender pay gap is the most critical step we can take to equality and genuine diversity.

Questions you could ask your employer today include:

  1. Why do we have a gender pay gap and what specific steps are in place to close it?
  2. Are women in our business satisfied with the rate of career progression?
  3. What growth and development programs do we have that are targeted specifically at progressing women’s careers?
  4. How much money do we invest in pathway to promotion programs for women?
  5. Are there opportunities for women to shadow our senior leaders in a structured way?
  6. Do we have specific mentoring programs for women? How are they funded and resourced?
  7. How do we resource women’s roles to enable them to take time off to participate in training, development, and mentoring programs?

This is also not a women’s problem – and these questions are a powerful way that men can support. A diverse workforce and level playing field benefits us all.


WGEA Gender Pay Gap Data Explorer
Women in Media 2023 Industry Insight Report


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