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Communication

Why over 50% of women in comms and PR roles face roadblocks to career advancement

Health Industry Hub | August 16, 2022 |

More than one in two women in communications and public relations roles rate the industry’s commitment to gender equality as weak or very weak. Fifty-six percent (56%) are unsure or dissatisfied with their rate of career progression, with pay the main driver to leave their job, a new report reveals.

In recent years women outnumber men when it comes to graduating with journalism, marketing and communications degrees. With these high levels of professional education and vocational training, the roadblocks to success seem to emerge after women enter the workforce.

Four overarching factors act as barriers for women over the course of their careers in journalism, communications, production, public relations, publishing and digital media.

  • industry commitment to addressing gender equality and pay;
  • access to upskilling;
  • clearer pathways to promotion;
  • more support from leadership/direct managers.

The Women in Media Industry Insight Report 2022 informs the call for gender equality, pathways for career progress, and access to support and resources for women working in all roles and types of media.

Women in Media patron and board member Victoria Laurie sees the results as a litmus test of fairness in an industry that many would expect to prioritise gender equality.

“However, the majority of our members say pay is an issue, and career advancement is problematic,” said Laurie, a founding member of Women in Media.

“Our surveyed cohort says that’s why they feel uncertain or even dissatisfied about their career progress.

“Women in Media wants a better deal for media women, and our members have provided solutions – calling on employers to implement gender pay audits in their organisations, an increase in follow-the-leader ‘shadowing’ programs to upskill future leaders, as well as more training in digital skills. 

“If women predominate at the start of their media careers, why is it that they are vastly outnumbered by the time they reach senior ranks?

“Women in Media believes it points to problems in the industry, and this report indicates that the majority of our members think so too.”

Based on the collected data about what drives women in the industry to excel, Women in Media is calling for employers to implement:

  • Gender Pay Audits to address the higher-than-average industry pay gap
  • Micro-learning to build digital and other relevant new skills
  • Shadowing Programs to provide access to leaders & hands-on learning
  • Support from leadership & immediate managers to create pathways to growth and career success

Research has shown for some time that companies with gender-balanced workplaces have higher profitability, better decision-making processes, and stronger value propositions. 


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