How I approach the gender pay gap in marketing



April 14, 2021 5 min read

Gender inequality in the workplace has been a big conversation lately in Australia. Alyce O’Brien writes about the factors that contribute to the wage gap and how individuals, marketers and businesses can act to overcome “cultural complacency”.

Australian women gave birth on new that it will probably take another 26 years to close the gender pay gap. What joke!

The recent UN Women Australia campaign “When will she be right?” highlights the contemptuous attitude women face and the cultural complacency that things will work out, at some point, but for women, that point is still too far away.

Australia ranked 50th out of 156 countries in the latest Global Gender Gap Index and it looks like we are going backwards. In 2006 Australia was ranked 15th on the Gender Equality Index and this year we ranked six places lower than last year, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women.

Employers have become complacent again

Equal pay was recognized in Australia in 1969. Today, 52 years later, we are told to wait another 26 years to “try” to resolve an existing pay gap.

What does it say to society when women are paid less than men for equal work? Organizations need to become more aware of their own pay gap. HR teams, hiring managers and business leaders must continue to shift mindsets to solve the problem – and push for more action and change.

45% of employers who have undertaken a pay gap analysis have taken no action to address it

The gender gap in some organizations is so big that we hear that they just can’t afford to correct it immediately. These companies admit that they cannot afford to pay everyone fairly and therefore have to underpay some to overpay others.

Throughout my recruiting career, I have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of action and the persistent disparity in the marketing industry towards women.

Men place their wages higher than women by $ 10,000 to $ 40,000 (and sometimes a lot more on that) for the same role with the same years of experience. It is not only at the intermediate level, it is reflected at all levels.

Let’s face it, being a hard-core salary negotiator isn’t exactly one of the traits you see in most creatives and marketers. Add to this that most women don’t know that they are paid less than their male counterparts. As such, they cannot take action to address it.

Realize the extremely important role I play in solving this problem I increased the salaries of women to meet or exceed the expectations of male applicants for the same position – and I managed to get the positions!

My role in solving this problem is something I take seriously. If I didn’t, women who are already underpaid would continue to see the pay gap follow them from organization to organization – and this would continue throughout their careers.

What contributes to the pay gap?

There are many contributing factors, the most important of which is due to the continued discrimination women face in hiring and compensation decisions, as well as the lack of transparency and awareness of wages and benchmarking. roles in the market.

Other factors include the lack of flexibility that workplaces offer to care for children and the fact that women continue to take on the disproportionate share of unpaid work and, as a result, spend more time outside the market. work.

America and the UK have both introduced a ban on wage secrecy clauses in an attempt to reduce wage discrimination. Here in Australia, it is still perfectly legal in employment contracts. This means that employers and employees are keeping a low profile on pay packages at all levels. This must change.

Transparency and market knowledge are essential

Even today, some candidates are not comfortable sharing their salaries with recruiters. We need honesty and transparency to help you identify where you are in the market to bridge the gap – not to pay you less than you’re worth.

This also applies to employers. Companies that don’t share pay scales in advance ask applicants what their expectations are. What this does is place the onus of ensuring equal pay on female candidates when some candidates simply have no gauge on what the role is paying for. Especially if the position they’re applying for is in a different industry or when marketers are leaving an agency to take on a brand role, for example. This process – unintentionally or not – directly contributes to the pay gap of this organization.

Flexibility shouldn’t come at a cost to your take-home pay

It is therefore not surprising that women often say that the salary is not the main motivator for moving. Instead, flexibility and work schedules are the most critical. This poses the problem of women moving for the same pay or sometimes accepting lower wages if they have the flexibility and ability to work from home when needed (before COVID-19 times).

What can you do as an individual?

  • Do your research on the market rate for your role and level of experience.
  • Connect with a specialist recruiter who has a good number of years in the marketing market. They will provide you with more detailed salary and market information to help you. Annual salary guides are also published for you.
  • Seek advice from other marketers on your team and / or marketers and leaders in your network. Our culture of not discussing our salaries with each other only perpetuates the gender pay gap.
  • Start a conversation with your manager or company and ask for a salary review. It is difficult to refuse a request when the justification is: “I should be paid the same as my male colleague”!

What Can You Do As A Marketing Leader?

  • Actively develop a plan to close existing gaps in your own team.
  • If you are managing people, compare the salaries of the men and women on your team. If there is a gender pay gap, work with HR to close it.
  • Get involved across the company to solve the challenge – men and women. And keep pushing the problem. Don’t let it sit.
  • Make your team the norm to talk about compensation with your colleagues and other women in your network. Change the culture we have of not discussing wages with each other.
  • Consider negotiating a clause in your contract to ensure equal pay is offered to you and your team if you are a leader and starting a new business.

What can you do as a business?

  • Be prepared for employees to learn about a gender pay gap not only within the organization, but within their own team. And take action.
  • Be transparent and advertise the salary for each position.
  • Talk about the problem of the gap in the company – to men and women.
  • Provide training to hiring managers on unbiased salary negotiations
  • Discuss what can be proposed to close the gap during the hiring process with hiring managers and leaders
  • Achieve full salary review increases, not a general percentage increase across the company. Men will often try harder than women to get further pay raises and be successful, while women will stay on lower pay every year, even with raises.

Alyce O’Brien is a leading recruiting, team strategist and dDirector and Founder of LevelUP.

Image of Andrew Martin of Pixabay.


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