According to networking group GWPR (Global Women in PR), although women represent two-thirds of the global PR industry, 78 percent of CEOs in the top 30 global PR organizations are men. They also account for 62 percent of the PR boardroom table. This has been a persistent problem across organizations, but why such the disparity of female leaders in such a female-driven industry?
The GWPR study states a confidence gap as a major reason for the disconnect, as 26 percent of women say they aren’t confident asking for a salary increase or promotion (compared to 13 percent of men). Additionally, work/life balance (34 percent) was cited as a main reason women do not think they can reach the top of the career ladder.
However, elevating women to leadership roles has been proven to be beneficial in helping organizations achieve their business goals. A study by Catalyst found that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women in senior management had higher return on equities and returns to shareholders.
How do we get there?
Some organizations are working to reverse gender inequality, including PR agencies, and are creating specific programs to reach this objective. Leadership development programs are being instituted to help women thrive in their careers. Also, to ease work/life balance demands, as mentioned in the GWPR study, companies are offering flexible work schedules and telework options (Young & Associates included). Strong mentorship programs can also help young professionals set goals and a solid course for their careers.
There’s no question, it will be a long road ahead to reach equal representation for women at the top. If female PR professionals continue to gain support from their respective workplaces and also encounter examples of other successful women leaders this can help foster their career development and potentially move into more senior roles.