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Advertising Industry stands ready for Government gender pay reporting

There is no evidence of gender pay discrimination in the UK’s biggest advertising agencies, with women taking a greater percentage of the salaries at some levels of seniority, a recent survey from the IPA reveals.


The survey, published in January 2016, precedes the Government’s plans announced today (12th February 2016) that by April 2018 all companies with over 250 employees will have to reveal on a searchable UK website, their mean and median gender pay gaps from the whole workforce.  It forms part of IPA Tom Knox’s presidential ‘Here for Good’ agenda to reassert and secure for the future advertising’s role as a culturally, social and economically enriching force for good.

It reveals the gender and BAME split by department and seniority within the IPA’s biggest agencies (200+ employees, or a gross income of over £20 million). It covers the full spectrum of women in the advertising profession - by seniority, department, pay and flexible working opportunities. The survey also covers BAME representation within Adland, including by seniority.

Survey highlights regarding gender pay:

While overall women account for 50.4% of total staff and 44.3% of salaries, this gender pay disparity is due to more women making use of flexible work arrangements (14.1%) than men (6.8%).

Drilling down into the detail, the survey shows that across the biggest agencies, women are paid more, proportionately, at:

  • Chair/CEO/MD level: women account for 32.3% of staff at this level but account for 34.1% of salaries.
  • Head of Department level: 38.6% female staff / 40.5% salaries.
  • Executives/Assistants: 55.7% / 56.0%

However, men are paid more, proportionately, at two levels:

  • Other Executive Management: women account for 34.0% of staff, but 29.2% of salaries.
  • Middle managers: 49.9% female staff / 46.4% salaries.

Says Tom Knox, IPA President: “It’s heartening to see our industry clearly demonstrating its progressive nature and evidence that differences in pay are related to flexible working practices being offered and taken up by agencies and staff alike. The IPA’s members who fall outside of the Governments reporting targets of under 250 employees should be lauded for their openness and willingness to tackle such a pressing issue by sharing their gender and pay figures publicly.”

In addition to the survey, IPA President Tom Knox has set the UK advertising, media and communications agency business ambitious targets on gender and ethnic diversity representation to achieve by 2020.

  • On gender, women will hold 40% of senior positions within all agencies, and at each stage of the career ladder (Executive or Assistant, Middle Manager, Head of Department, Director or Other Executive Management and amongst personnel in the C-Suite).
  • On ethnic diversity, at least, 15% of people in leadership positions in the IPA’s biggest agencies will be from a non-white background.
  • These goals are in addition to the IPA’s existing commitment to help the industry recruit 25% of new joiners from BAME backgrounds.

View the full survey and targets

Last updated 12/02/2016

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