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Gender pay disparity is still a big issue within digital

With the release of the BBC’s recent salary information, the gender pay gap issue has once again been thrust into the limelight and it’s easy to see why with male stars earning significantly more than their female counterparts in many cases. Not restricted to television and broadcasting, many companies, including Virgin Money, Schroders and Utility SSE revealed pay gaps as high as 36% - twice the national average.

The same trend exists within the digital economy as highlighted in our latest salary survey which found the overall pay gap to be 28% - equivalent to £17,000 on average.

Interestingly, women with up to two years’ experience working in digital earn more than the men in our sample and it is only at this level that this is the case. Whilst a gender pay gap exists in favour of male professionals with more than three years’ experience, it’s the jump in comparative salaries at three to five years’ that is concerning. Across all the industries and skill sets we surveyed, men earn on average, £20,000 more once they had 3-5 years’ experience and £14,000 more than their female counterparts at this level, whose average salary increased by less than £10,000.

Salary survey results chart

This gap does decrease with experience, however even with 50% of women in digital earning a bonus, there is still a real issue that needs to be addressed.

Some industries are better than others. Within Mar Tech companies, the pay gap is as low as £6,000, a figure which in stark contrast to Ad Tech businesses where the difference in male pay, on average, is £26,000 (equivalent to 32% more than female pay). The research also found major differences in gender pay within brands and clientside businesses as well as within media owners and publishers.

Salary survey results chart


​So how can the digital industry tackle gender pay disparity?

Earlier in the year Sphere sponsored the Diversity in Marketing and Advertising Summit which put forward some exciting and forward-thinking actions on gender and diversity. It’s now crucial that these actions are more than simply event topics for expert panels to discuss and that real steps are taken to eliminate the pay gap.

Many may have been shocked by the disparity but in publishing the results of their staff’s pay, the BBC showed the transparency need to affect change – something digital businesses should take on board. In April 2018, the UK’s biggest employers will have to publish their own data on pay and whilst many businesses within digital won’t fall into these categories it’s still an important exercise to address how they can operate in a gender-neutral way.

This transparency and way of operating needs to filter down to HR and hiring teams and be at the forefront of talent attraction and the whole recruitment process. Using resources such as salary surveys and industry data will help businesses see the disparities first-hand and should give them the impetus to both benchmark their business against competitor and to affect change.

One thing that is for sure, is that the gender pay gap cannot continue to be just a ‘hot topic’ to discuss before another one comes along.

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