PR and the gender pay gap – what’s all the fuss about?

Sarah Hall

This is the first in an occasional series of guest blog posts from DTW. In today’s post Sarah Hall, managing director of Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd and board member for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), outlines why gender inequality still exists in PR – and what the leading industry body is doing about it.

What’s the problem?

The CIPR’s annual State of the Profession Survey has identified that there is a clear £8,483 pay gap in favour of men, that cannot be explained by any other factor such as length of service, seniority, parenthood, or a higher prevalence of part-time work amongst women.

In an industry dominated by women – more than two thirds of practitioners are female – this is embarrassing and has to change.

What is the CIPR doing about it?

Engagement around the State of the Profession Survey from both CIPR members and non-members has clearly shown that people are looking to the Institute for leadership and guidance.

We’ve taken up the challenge and have a big ambition – to become an exemplar for other sectors.

In 2014 we kicked off our gender balance and pay gap policy work with the development and publication of guides to ease maternity leave and the return to work for both organisations and employees. We also produced a comprehensive guide to flexible working in public relations.

This year, we have published a four point manifesto outlining what we will do as part of our drive to narrow the gender pay gap. This includes focusing on pay transparency and helping our members develop excellence in pay system management. We’ll also look to develop a competency framework relevant to PR today and will continue to lobby UK Government on opportunities to strengthen the Equal Pay Act.

The call to action

Cultural change across the industry is not something we can achieve alone so we are asking practitioners to support the work we are doing and to adopt any guidance launched, which will be based on current legislation and around the CIPR’s Code of Conduct.

Equally any managers, directors and employers who are leading the way with regards to workforce recruitment and retention policies are asked to get in touch so we can share and promote best practice.

If you’d like to get involved or find out more, please visit