Technological and social changes will continue to transform aspects of public relations practices for long time. The most dramatic transformation in public relations has been the change from the male dominated field to the female dominated field.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

More people, less paying?

Isn’t it ironic that women dominate PR but within the industry men still earn more?

Why is this still happening?

I found several studies which have examined the salary disparities between men and women in PR. The first studies, starting in the 1980s, simply examined the gap without any consideration of the factors that could cause this difference.

However, PRWeek's Salary Survey (Table 1), included factors such as age and experience level, concluded that gender actually only accounts for 1% of the disparity in pay. Also, a current survey in PR Week showed the average age of males in the industry is 37.1 whereas females were 32.4. The male population in PR is older and as such more experienced, with any job experience tends to pay more.

Also men work longer hours than women at 49 compared to 46. This can be explained by the conflicting pressures on a women’s time. It can be demonstrated that family concerns reduce a woman’s earning power; the Independent Women’s Forum found childless young career women’s salaries were 98 % of men’s.

Finally, men earn more in PR because a higher percentage of men work in the higher paying disciplines; men still dominate the top jobs. For example, according to this year's survey the best paying PR sectors were industrial/manufacturing, financial services, and professional services and consulting. Those sectors employed mostly men. Otherwise, the lowest-paying sector, nonprofit and charity, employed women.

Although women now make up the majority of public relations workers, the difference in the average salary of males compared to female employees is statistically significant. That said such gender based salary gaps in public relations is complicated and hard to generalise


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