Global Women in PR announced the results of its Annual Index ahead of International Women’s Day.
Gender discrimination in the PR workplace remains a key contributor to the lack of senior female leaders in the industry. However, the findings of the GWPR 2022 Annual Index research surprisingly revealed that discrimination on the grounds of ageism is almost as widespread.
Of the 53% of female PR professionals who claim to have faced discrimination in the workplace, 27% said this was based on gender discrimination, closely followed by age discrimination (23%).
For those facing discrimination, the major impact on their career was being overlooked for a promotion or pay rise (53%). Confidence and well-being were also badly affected (46%).
A stark revelation was the level of ageism prevalent in PR agencies. Two-thirds of women currently working in PR agencies could not see themselves being there beyond the age of 50. By contrast, 56% of in-house PRs plan to stay in the same sector of the comms industry.
62% of survey respondents stated that their companies had diversity and inclusion policies in place, rising to 74% among those working in-house. Gender equality was the most common target highlighted (62%), but only 37% set age targets in their policies – much lower than disability (54%).
GWPR MENA Co-Chair Loretta Ahmed said, “We all know that diversity in the workforce delivers benefits on every level – from gender balance to ageism. It is encouraging to see the progress now happening in the UAE and wider region but, like every industry, the PR sector is facing talent retention challenges this year. We urge UAE business leaders to look to their women and address their needs, whatever their age, to allow for the development of a culture that truly supports their potential.”
GWPR Co-founder Angela Oakes said, “Ageism is clearly a real problem in the PR industry. We pay lip service to wanting a diverse workforce, but the reality is very different. We also have a major issue around retaining talent and this surely can’t help. So, how do we try and reverse this trend? Flexible working can help. We think of childcare as a major issue for women in relation to career progression and work-life balance, but the other responsibility that comes with age is caring for elderly parents. In addition, employers need to change their recruitment policies. Many middle-aged women don’t get beyond stage one of the recruitment process.”
This is the fourth edition of the GWPR Annual Index, designed to track and measure the position of women working in the PR and Communications industry globally. In partnership with strategic insight agency Opinium, the 2022 survey questionnaire covered flexible working, the barriers to women reaching the boardroom, the career impact of being a parent, and discrimination in the workplace.
The most significant change relating to women in PR that were measured over the last four years relates to flexible working. In 2022, 92% of PR women were working flexibly and these women anticipate this will not change in the future. In particular, remote working has seen a sharp increase of +35% since 2020. Over the next 12 months, PR women say they expect to be working remotely 2.8 days a week.
Top line findings
Read the full report here.