Boardroom diversity

In the UK digital industries, women earn around £8,000 less than men on average.

Something that’s been on my mind this past week. Chatting to a close friend over dinner, she happened to mention that she had recently become aware of what her male colleagues earned and it was quite a bit more! In this day and age you wouldn’t expect this to still be the case but having looked into it a bit further this week it seems to be more prevalent than I first thought.

Although the gender pay gap has been on the decline since in the UK (2012 saw the gap officially drop to 10% for full-time workers), a recent study carried out by Econsultancy highlighted that in our industry of digital marketing, women earn around £8,000 less than men. In an already male dominated environment this makes me very sad!

It got me thinking about the reasons why this still occurred, and also why there are still less women in senior positions. There’s a digital meet up just started locally and a colleague of mine went along last week. He mentioned there was only one women present which was a shame and encouraged me to join him next month.

Is it because there is still a stigma attached to ‘part timers’? In April 2016 CIPD research identified that the proportion of females at Board level (23%) is half of those at senior management level (46%), indicating a strong barrier to those reaching the very top jobs. Some of the reasons covered were;

  • lack of women’s potential
  • stereotypes
  • an absence of role models
  • careers information and guidance
  • career breaks
  • caring responsibilities
  • full time working being the existing norm
  • a lack of talent spotting
  • a lack of mentoring

To support increasing the number of women in executive leadership roles, companies need to change the way they think and start to address these perceptions and the factors that inhibit female progression. Workplace policies and practises need to change, more investment in training is needed with a particular focus on leadership and management, and poor or inadequate practises need to stop.

So what can women do to help themselves?

Increasing your visibility across your organisation and focus on your ‘PR’ by making your accomplishments known. This leads to gaining the experience essential to moving you up into senior management. Women also need to support each other more. I’ve known some great female mentors throughout my career and it has helped me tremendously.

In April 2018 companies with over 250 employees will be required to publish data relating to pay inequalities. Data published is to include the pay and bonus figures between men and women, and will include data from April 2017. Let’s hope this addresses the inequality once and for all.