The gender gap in marketing: pay, benefits, overtime and happiness
The content of this briefing is taken from Econsultancy’s Career and Salary Survey Report 2020, produced in association with Marketing Week. First launched in 2015, this annual report is the industry’s most in-depth census of marketing careers and salaries in the UK, presenting a robust look at workplace trends and the experiences of marketers.
This briefing examines the trends in marketing as they relate to gender: specifically, the persistent gap that remains between men and women when it comes to the amount they are paid, their seniority, and how happy they are in their roles. It also looks into how gender affects the types of benefits that marketers value, how likely they are to take advantage of them, and the amount of overtime they work.
Explore the wider report for a wealth of statistics and analysis into marketing qualifications, marketing as a career, where marketers want to work, diversity and inclusion, and much more.
The gender pay gap
The gender pay gap within marketing persists, as male marketers earn on average £15,861 more than their female colleagues. In 2020, men are commanding an average salary of £60,271, while women’s annual pay cheque averages out as £44,410.
The marketing pay gap by gender
A note on the average salary methodology
This year’s survey saw the introduction of a new and more accurate methodology for calculating the average salary. This means 2019 averages are not directly comparable to those of 2020.
Marketing is sadly not unique in its gender pay disparity. The International Labour Organisation’s 2018/2019 Global Wage Report found that the UK has one of the biggest average differences in real monthly wages between men and women in high income earning countries. Four years after pay gap reporting became mandatory in the UK, the gender pay gap among full-time employees has moved very little, according to statistics from the ONS.
In the UK, Equal Pay Day – the date marking when women effectively stop earning until the following year vs. their male counterparts – is on 10 November. For female marketers in the UK, this date would be 26 September.
The disparity in pay between the genders broadly has two causes: 1) unequal pay for the same role, or 2) disproportionate representation between the genders at different levels of seniority. Both factors appear to be playing a role within marketing, as women are both under-represented in senior positions (more on this in the next section), and report lower average salaries than men across all but the two of the most junior role types (refer to table below).
Average salaries are calculated from full-time (35+ hours a week) respondents providing their basic annual salary, excluding any additional benefits.
This is the sixth consecutive year, every year of its existence, that the Career and Salary survey has recorded a considerable pay gap. Despite a number of programmes and increased publicity, the gender pay gap does not seem likely to close any time soon. With men reporting receiving an annual raise of 7% in the last 12 months, compared with 6% for women, without a major shakeup of the status quo it is unlikely women’s pay will catch up to that of their male counterparts.
Both male and female marketers may have a sense of this imbalance, with male respondents more likely to report their salary as fair. Just under two-thirds (63%) of male respondents say that their employer provides ‘fair financial rewards’ compared with just over half (53%) of female respondents.
For organisations looking to close the gender pay gap, the UK government has put together a guide featuring evidence-based actions for employers in conjunction with The Behavioural Insights Team (better known as The Nudge Unit). The guide details six steps proven to improve an organisation’s gender pay gap and improving gender equality in organisations, which could be employed to rebalance marketing teams:
- Include multiple women in shortlists for recruitment and promotions
- Use skill-based assessment tasks in recruitment
- Use structured interviews for recruitment and promotions
- Encourage salary negotiation by showing salary ranges
- Introduce transparency to promotion, pay and reward processes
- Appoint diversity managers and/or diversity task forces.
For further guidance on building inclusivity and diversity into recruitment practices from the beginning, see Econsultancy’s Modern Marketing Job Descriptions Best Practice Guide.
Women are under-represented at a senior level
Women are under-represented in senior levels of marketing organisations. While almost half (45%) of all male respondents held senior management positions (senior manager level or above), just over a quarter (27%) of female respondents held a similar rank.
Despite highly publicised pledges to promote more women to senior or board positions, the discrepancy between male and female seniority seems to be widening, with the proportion of men in senior roles up four percentage points from 41% since 2019, while the percentage of women in senior roles has only risen one percentage point.
Women’s place at the top table
“Gender imbalance continues to be a challenge. This cannot be put down to the usual excuses of part time work and career gaps due to childcare, [it must] instead reflect… the value placed and the scope of marketing roles women hold on boards, as compared to men. As the industry has identified, a focus on reshaping the expectations of leadership away from the stereotypical male behaviours is key to allow women to step forwards and have a greater, more valuable impact at the top table.”
Cheryl Calverley, CMO, Eve Sleep
“I am encouraged by the amount of open discussions and initiatives around gender balance. As a female founder myself, I am still disappointed about the uneven playing field we as women operate in.”
Jo Dalton, Founder & CEO, JD & Co
The absence of women in positions of power is an issue for organisations. Beyond the moral imperative, there is an overwhelming body of evidence that a diverse set of decision makers delivers business benefits. Research by McKinsey & Company found that in the UK, greater gender diversity on the senior-executive team corresponded to the highest performance uplift across multiple factors.
Despite the business case for promotion of women, it appears that progression within many organisations is easier for men than women. Men were more likely to rank their ‘opportunity to advance career’ with their current employer positively (61%), while just over half (51%) of women felt confident about advancement in their current role.
Type of work
Part of this opportunity gap may be attributable to the type of work women end up doing. Research by the advocacy group Creative Equals found that women are over-represented in support functions, such as account and project management but are under-represented in creative, strategy, digital and executive management.
The same research showed that women are less likely than men to work on a new business pitch or project or have their work entered for industry awards, which may limit their opportunities to get noticed and put forward for promotion.
Gender and benefits
Although men and women rank the different benefits offered by employers in the same order of importance, there are marked differences in what proportions of men and women consider each important. For example, ‘flexible working’ was the most valued benefit across the board (more on this in Section 6.5), though a greater proportion of women (96%) rated it important than men (87%).
For male respondents a high base salary was as important as flexible work, with both being ranked as important by 87% of male marketers, however, for women, there was 12-point gap between these benefits, which are ranked first and second place in the most important benefits league table (refer to below table).
More women value family-related benefits; men emphasise salary
Although both ‘high base salary but fewer benefits’ and ‘performance related bonuses’ are benefits rated important by both men and women, men are more likely to find them important than women are.
Benefits that support raising a family, such as ‘shared parental leave’, ‘contribution to childcare’ and ‘career breaks’ are also more likely to be thought of as important by female respondents. This likely reflects that despite steps forward, such as shared parental leave now being a legal requirement, that the majority of childcare is, alongside other unpaid work such as housework, still done by women.
Women with jobs may also be more likely to have a partner who works. One recent study carried out by McKinsey & Company showed that 81% of American women have a partner who works full time, compared with 56% of men. This disparity only increases with the seniority of the respondent. This difference in dual-career relationships is likely to add additional complexity to balancing work and home life or the demands of childcare for working women.
The benefit gap
Despite women putting a greater emphasis on the importance of flexible working, they are less likely to receive the benefit. This pattern is repeated across the top benefits, with men having been more likely to receive benefits than women in the last year.
The disparity in benefits taken in the last year is unlikely to be attributable to women’s lack of appetite for them. As seen below, women are broadly more likely to consider benefits important than their male counterparts.
There must be other factors behind this ‘benefits gap’. One of these may be the potential negative consequences that women may experience if they take advantage of the benefits offered by an employer.
The double standard applied to male and female office behaviour (captured by the phrase “men are assertive, women are bossy”) is a much-discussed barrier to female progression. A recent study by Cambridge’s Murray Edwards College found that 43% of female employees report having been judged more negatively than men for the same behaviour. This becomes more acute the more senior a woman becomes.
In an environment where perceptions of their behaviour are coloured by unconscious sexism, women may choose to adapt their behavior, such as by avoiding taking advantage of workplace benefits, to mitigate any risk of judgement.
Given the evidence, this may be a sound strategic choice. For example, according to a 2019 study by McKinsey & Company, women are much more likely to feel negative consequences as a result of their absence from the office than men. Women are also twice as likely to say that taking leave had had a negative impact on their finances.
Beyond organisations having an ethical responsibility to work towards gender equality across all aspects of the employee experience, given the impact on training uptake and the productivity benefits of happy, healthy employees it is in an organisation’s best interest to ensure the take up of benefits by men and women. Tackling the gender benefit gap should be a key consideration when implementing employee benefits and a reward strategy.
Gender and overtime
Both men and women spend more time at work during the week than they are contracted to. A larger proportion of men reported working five or more hours of uncontracted time a week than women. Some of this gap is likely attributable to the imbalance in childcare and household responsibilities between men and women, as women tend to have more demands on their time.
In a typical week, how many hours over your standard contracted hours do you estimate that you typically work?
Long unpaid hours and presenteeism have an impact on performance, productivity and the wellbeing of employees. Given the gender difference in additional working hours, organisations should consider the differing needs of employee groups when designing employee wellbeing strategies to ensure they are effective for all employees, no matter their gender.
Gender and happiness
With the gender pay gap, under-representation of women in in senior roles and the factors at play behind those statistics, it is not surprising that women are less likely to be happy in their current role than men, with 60% of male respondents reporting themselves ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’ in their current role vs. 55% of female respondents. This happiness gap is a new development on last year, where male and female marketers were equally likely to say they were happy in their current role (55% each).
Despite this happiness differential, women appear to be more loyal to the industry, with a much higher percentage of female respondents (47%) saying they expect to be still working in marketing in five years’ time vs. male respondents (26%).
Where men and women were considering changing their job, . Though ‘better financial remuneration’ was the key motivator for the majority of respondents (60% of men and 57% of women), other factors played more of a role in men and women’s decision making. Women were more likely to reference ‘limited opportunity at current company’ as a motivating factor than men (33% vs. 29%).
The most significant differences between women and men were in how often ‘flexible working’ and ‘better workplace culture’ were motivating factors. Flexibility played a role in 20% of female respondents’ decision whether or not to change jobs, vs. 10% of male respondents, while the desire for an improved culture at work was a driving factor for a 25% of women, and 18% of men.
If you are considering a change of job, what are the main reasons? (respondents could select up to three options)
Workplace culture and flexible work options not only have an impact on retention, they are also key factors in attracting a diverse set of talent. With the current high levels of competition for skilled individuals, organisations that do not take the importance of an inclusive culture and flexibility into account may find themselves not only suffering churn but also on the losing side of the war for talent.
For more guidance on inclusivity in hiring and attracting a diverse set of talent see Econsultancy’s Modern Marketing Job Descriptions Best Practice Guide.
Read the full Career and Salary Survey Report 2020
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Source: Customer Experience