Last Updated 7 months by Emily Standley-Allard
Those who’ve worked in marketing for a while probably have experienced the gender gap in the marketing industry when it comes to pay and promotional opportunities. Even though many companies have more female workers in marketing roles than male workers, the numbers don’t quite add up when it comes to salaries. Many wonder why the marketing industry isn’t making progress more quickly.
What Is the Gender Gap in the Marketing Industry?
The 2023 Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey found the average female marketer still makes around 16.5% less than males in their field.
The gender gap in pay according to statistics in the US hasn’t changed much in two decades and some even say it’s growing.
In 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers.
These results are similar to where the pay gap stood in 2002, when women earned 80% as much as men.
Women make up around half of the working population, yet they are behind when it comes to filling leadership roles and pay.
A few companies have been trying to institute policies to ensure everyone makes a wage commensurate with their experience and the value they bring to the company.
Most companies want to do better. The gender gap is something that occurs for a variety of reasons, such as tradition, education or women taking time off for childcare and elderly caretaker responsibilities.
However, according to Pewresearch.org gender disparities widened even more during the pandemic.
And men are more likely than women to be a boss or a top manager where they work (28% vs. 21%).
This is especially the case among employed fathers, 35% of whom say they are the boss or one of the top managers where they work. (The varying attitudes between fathers and men without children at least partly reflect differences in marital status and educational attainment between the two groups.)
What are some things marketing firms and companies can do to ensure they’re paying all their employees fairly and reduce the gender gap?
The Enduring Grip of the Gender Pay Gap
1. Create Compensation Procedures
When you have policies and procedures in place for how you compensate your workers, it becomes less likely that factors such as personality or gender come into play.
In any office environment, it’s easy for cliques to form. Some personalities click better than others, or people feel more comfortable going to lunch with a buddy of the same gender.
However, when personal relationships influence the pay gap, there’s an issue.
Compensation procedures work to make sure things are more equal and the only things considered are performance and growth.
2. Create an Inclusive and Supportive Work Environment
Girls Who Code’s founder Dr. Tarika Barrett suggests choosing diversity in the workplace is the first step to closing the pay gap between men and women.
Start with your recruitment process and try to focus on diversity by reaching out to candidates from different backgrounds and abilities.
Offer plenty of opportunities for co-workers to team build.
The better everyone knows one another, the more easily you can fix any gaps in knowledge that might keep a worker from moving up the ladder.
Encourage kindness and inclusion by setting the example as company leaders. Take workers to lunch rather than always eating together and separate, for example.
3. Consider Life Experience
The gender gap sometimes occurs because women haven’t had the educational opportunities of men.
For example, a single mother may still be going to school and completing her education with some time blocks in her work experience for raising children.
Since women still might make less money than men, affording classes can also put a strain on female workers.
When you hire based on experience rather than only education, you open up the pool of candidates to highly qualified individuals who might otherwise be overlooked.
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4. Offer Flexibility
One situation that sometimes impacts women’s careers is having to take time off during pregnancy and for maternity leave.
While the roles have equalized a bit and some men do take paternity leave, there may still be times when women have to be the caregiver and thus lose momentum at work.
One thing companies can do to decrease the problem is allow women to take maternity leave without fear of repercussions. Add nursing rooms at work and a day care center or allow them to bring babies with them.
Since remote work is much more popular than it once was, allowing new mothers more flexibility to work from home and finish tasks throughout the day is another option to keep them on their career path without losing too much time.
Employers in the US are cutting back on paternity leave: survey | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)
5. Be Aware of Compensation for Your Area and Various Roles
The pay for creative roles sometimes varies based on specializations and location.
For example, if you plan to hire a graphic designer for your marketing team, it’s crucial to understand the average of $60,500 per year is a starting range and doesn’t take into account experience.
At the same time, a graphic designer in New York City is going to make more than one in a small town in rural Ohio.
Spend time looking at payscale examples and ask candidates what they made in their last positions.
Be knowledgeable about what your competitors pay so you can offer a competitive salary.
6. Bring Accountability to Management
Companies that want a fairer pay structure must add some accountability for company leaders.
For example, you might pay out bonuses based on how well managers do in creative diversity and equal pay.
Do your top managers come up with ways to train both men and women and reduce any knowledge gaps?
What programs have they instituted? What is their review process like and is it fair to both genders?
The Workforce Is Failing Women. Business Leaders Can Stop It | WIRED
Close the Gender Gap
Narrowing the gender gap in the marketing industry is about more than just reducing the percentage differences in salaries, although that’s a good place to start.
It’s also about allowing both men and women to feel heard in their roles.
Companies must offer opportunities to grow and thrive in the environment if they want to remain competitive and continue to attract male and female top talent.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.
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