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Why is PR dominated by women?05/07/2012 1:19 pm
At Prospect, we work with some of the best agencies in the PR industry. One of the recurring themes in our meetings with clients is the lack of men in the industry. It is a well-known fact that more women are attracted to the industry than men. We thought we would take a look at the situation to try and figure out if there really is a shortage of men out there.
According to the latest Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) membership statistics, women outnumber men in the profession by a ratio of 60:40, a massive swing since the mid-1980s, when the ratio was 20:80 in the other direction.
There is a common perception that PR is a fluffy industry, not helped by stereotypes created by the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ era and the image of PRs being champagne quaffing Fulhamites. Has this image put men off? There’s certainly less men in the consumer sector, but they are much better represented in financial PR, b2b technology, public affairs, and are much more prevalent in senior boardroom positions.
According to the CIPR, the largest proportion of female PR professionals work at executive or manager level (almost 50%), while only approximately 5% work at senior management levels and 10% at director or partner level.
In terms of salaries, women are the bigger earners in the lower salary bands. Consistently more women than men earn up to £50,000 per year. However, the balance shifts in the other direction for salaries over £50,000. 45% of men in the profession, compared to 25% of women, earn in excess of £50,000 per year.
To find out just how prevalent this view of the PR industry is, Prospect conducted a survey, in conjunction with the ICM, and to which more than 20,000 PR professional responded.
More than half (55%) of people who responded to the survey think that the industry is not an equal opportunities employer, while only 30% think it is.
The survey revealed that, on average, women earn 11% less than men, although their starting salaries are typically two per cent higher.
However, there’s also a regional bias to be taken into consideration, with salaries in London, for both men and women, being higher than in the regions, as would be expected.
Starting salaries at PR agencies in London, for both sexes, are typically in the mid £20,000s, rising to almost £80,000 for the most senior professionals, with more than 15 years experience. London salaries are consistently 42% higher, on average, than salaries in the regions.
It’s fair to say the PR, like most industries, benefits from the skills and qualities that both men and women bring to the table and it’s good to have that mix and balance in a team or organisation. Our facts and figures give plenty of food for thought for men and women out there and demonstrate that PR is a rewarding, credible and diverse industry with a lot to offer the right candidates.