Our annual survey always gives us plenty to think about.
One of the hottest topics to come out this year is the gender pay gap.
640 professional writers responded to our survey back in January: 62% women, and 38% men. So what do they think about the issue?
Perceptions of the gender pay gap
In an article written in 2018 for itsnicethat.com, Gemma Germains said the gender pay gap in the creative industry is “all but invisible from the debate”. But not from our debate: we always ask the question in our annual survey.
The answers we received show:
- 38% of women said they DO believe gender impacts pay – 21% of men agreed.
- 21% of women said they DO NOT believe gender impacts pay – 38% of men agreed.
- 40% of both men and women said they were unsure.
Salaries and gaps
We asked male and female writers their salaries: including those who work in employed and freelance roles simultaneously, as well as agency writers, freelancers, in-house writers, and agency founders. We then compared women’s and men’s salaries and found the difference – what we call the gender pay gap.
Here’s what we found:
- Employed and freelance: 27% gap
- Agency: 29% gap
- Freelance: 4% gap
- In-house: 10% gap
- Agency founder: 9% gap
In every instance, the men responding to our survey reported a higher salary than the women.
The gender pay gap for agency writers
While all gaps need discussing, we must admit: the agency gap seems substantial. Does it ring true across the country?
We did some digging and found out the gender pay gaps at three UK-based creative agencies: Ogilvy & Mather, Wunderman Thompson UK, and GREY UK.
Gender pay gaps at top UK agencies revealed
By the way, as of 2017, companies with more the 250 employees in the UK must report gender pay gaps, and this information is all publicly available on the GOV.UK website.
All data was recorded from a snapshot on April 5th 2018 and you can find the full reports at the Gender Pay Gap Service.
- Ogilvy & Mather: 21.3% gap. Hourly, women make 79p to men’s £1.
- Wunderman Thompson UK: 38.3% gap. Hourly, women make 62p to men’s £1.
- GREY UK: 31% gap. Hourly, women make 69p to men’s £1.
That’s an average pay gap of 30.2%, which is close to our reported 29% gap from writers in agencies. But what’s happening elsewhere?
A national problem
According to data from the ONS, in 2019 the gender pay gap stood at 8.9% for all people in full-time employment in the UK.
Even in fields where women dominate, the gap remains substantial. The data showed women working full-time in roles that fall under ‘authors, writers and translators’ earn 16.9% less than men, despite women holding 60% of these roles.
And if you were to classify your professional writing as ‘sales, marketing, and related associate professionals’, then the gap still stands at 16.3%, with women holding 44% of these roles.
The figures show that the gender pay gap is still a major concern for everyone – whatever your specific area of writing.
The future of the gender pay gap
With fears that the coronavirus pandemic will impact the gender pay gap further, and the UK falling into recession again, what is the future of the gender pay gap?
In an interview with goodhousekeeping.com, Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at charity Turn2Us talked about her fears of the pandemic widening the pay gap.
She said: “What we are seeing now with the pandemic is that women are being more adversely affected, either because of their role as the primary carer of their children, or because of the nature of the sectors they work in. Many of the short-term responses to the crisis are welcome, but there must be a longer-term plan to close the financial gender divide.”
As professional writers, how can we raise awareness of this and improve our own outcomes?
Follow Honor Clement-Hayes’ advice and make sure you use your voice in next year’s ProCopywriters Survey.