Why the gender gap is an issue for male and female marketers alike

It’s good to be back at Marketing Week. But while I’m delighted to return to my desk after six months away on maternity leave, it appears that female marketers may not be feeling so positive about their roles.

Ruth Mortimer

Men are twice as likely to reach the top marketing roles as females, according to news out this week. Women make up 75 per cent of the professional marketing population in the UK, yet more than twice as many men (18 per cent) reach director level compared with women (7 per cent).

The same disparity is also true of head of marketing roles, with almost a quarter (25 per cent) of men and just 12 per cent of women achieving this position, according to the research from recruiter EMR with 1300 respondents. The gap is widest at the point where most women tend to have children – between the ages of 30-49 years old.

We delve further into the details of the gender imbalance in marketing this week, where we ask what role flexible working could play in encouraging more women to move onto the top roles. Anne Godfrey, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), says that while her own research shows the gap to be less wide than these latest figures, there should be “no room for complacency”.

There is certainly no room for women themselves to be complacent when the issue is not only about who gets the senior jobs. It is also about cold hard cash. Our own Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey 2013 shows a marked gap between the salaries of male and female marketers and director level executives. Not only do men tend to get the big jobs, they also tend to be paid better for them.

We’re just starting collecting responses for our next salary survey, which will be published in the new year. Last year, we got more than 3000 responses, making it the largest barometer of salaries in the UK marketing industry. This year, we have updated the questions to try and reflect changes in the industry over the past few years, based on feedback from last year’s respondents.

Please take part in the survey (you can find it here) so we can make sure we are bringing you the most useful, comprehensive information so you can benchmark yourself against your peers. That’s vital whether you are male or female.

Because ultimately, the gender gap is an issue because without marketing departments reflecting the population as a whole, they won’t be able to successfully appeal to their customers. That goes for the ethnic diversity in marketing too. And while I am enjoying being back at Marketing Week this week writing news about the industry, I’d love it if the gender gap was a story that never crossed my desk again.

Participate in our Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey 2014.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Great article and subject to get your teeth into upon your return. You mention ethnic diversity in marketing in your last paragraph. However, I am not sure if your reference is about marketeers not having a culturally diverse customer centric approach or if your reference is about the lack of female ethnic representation at the top of the marketing ladder.

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  • Hi Jules. Thanks for your comment.

    I was meaning ethnic diversity in general in marketing. The lack of female ethnic representation is part of that, but there is a lack of diversity throughout marketing and particularly at the top.

    Obviously the news last week dictated that the issue of a pay gap and senior roles gap for men and women was the topic of this column. But I think the lack of diversity within marketing is an equally relevant one - worth a column itself when I have some good figures to base it on.

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