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How to overcome gender pay discrepancies in the marketing sector

By on 14.04.16 in Your Career

The question of gender equality and pay continues to be a big deal. The marketing and advertising industries spend a lot of time focusing their spotlight on it, so is this scrutiny making any difference? 

According to the latest career and salary survey conducted by Marketing Week, there are signs that Marketing's continued failure to address the gender pay gap is 'having a detrimental effect'. The findings reveal that men continue to earn significantly more, with an average salary of just over £42K, compared with £35K for women. That's a 21% difference - equating to around £7.3K per year. The survey goes on to state that this was the same in 2015, meaning there has been no improvement in the past twelve months. 

The ongoing concerns over pay may explain why 29% of women say they're unhappy in their job compared with 24% of men. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a little over half the women surveyed said they believe that their employer is failing to provide fair financial rewards. 

Although these findings are pretty bleak, it is not all bad news. It seems that the marketing and advertising industry is better at putting women into senior, board-level positions than businesses generally. But those that do make it are portrayed as 'superwomen' - making it more daunting for those following in their footsteps. 

So what is holding women back? It is due to a number of factors: women are often penalised when they assert themselves, being labelled as 'bossy' and aren't able to put a price on their own worth. But equally it could be attributed to women not asking for a payrise or not negotiating as great an increase when moving roles; studies show in general women ask for up to £7k less than their male counterparts when negotiating a salary. 

Additionally according to an article in The Daily Telegraph, there is some evidence to show that the gender pay gap only exists for women over 40 - suggesting it is less about gender and more about something else entirely. This article highlights that some women choose to turn down promotions, overtime and travel that takes them away from home and their families and favour working part-time so that they can spend more time with their children. But clearly this should not be at the expense of equal pay for equivalent roles.  

So what can women do to help themselves? Make sure they don't undersell themselves, ensure they ask for that pay rise at their reviews and be ambitious in their expectations when they makes career move!  

Finally here are some tips for any woman looking to negotiate a pay rise: 

• Go armed with evidence of your value to the company. Hard facts cannot be denied.
• From next year every company in Britain with more than 250 employees will be required by law to reveal the pay gap between men and women - which means it will be easier to ask for a pay rise, knowing what the men in the same role are being paid at your company.
• Do your research - find out what other companies are paying employees to do your job elsewhere.
• Stay calm - leave emotion at the office door. No boss wants someone sniveling their way through a pay rise pitch.
• Say silent - once you have said your piece, keep quiet and give your boss a chance to respond.
• Finally, learn when to be assertive and go for it.