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Global Women in PR's Annual Index charts the progress towards gender equality in the PR workplace

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

On the show today, I’m chatting with Charlotte West, executive director of corporate communications at Lenovo, and Jo Patterson, UK MD at Zeno.

Today, we’re discussing the findings of the Global Women in PR Annual Index, a research programme that aims to measure the status of women working in PR and communications worldwide.

Before we start, we should pay tribute to GWPR co-founder Angela Oakes. Angela sadly passed away after a brief illness last year but her legacy of helping to change the landscape for women working in our industry will go on.

Here are some topline findings from the report:

  • Flexible working has become an accepted norm

  • Levels of flexible working have been maintained since this time last year and are anticipated to stay.

  • Women continue to see progression and promotions slower than men, and boardrooms continue to be male-dominated.

  • According to the report, half of female PR professionals globally have experienced harassment or inappropriate behaviour at work.

But before we start, a quick plug for our latest webinar launch. The topic is “How to track the success of an earned media campaign." Tickets are free, and we’re putting this one on in partnership with our good friends at Carma. 

Also, here is a quick mention about the relaunch of PRmoment. If you take a look at PRmoment.com, you'll see a brand new design with lots of new features, hopefully easier navigation and also the launch of our new subscription training service for senior folks within agencies' PRmoment Leaders. Do take a look and let us know if you like it.

Thanks also so much to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors the PRCA.

Here is a summary of what Charlotte, Jo and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:

3 mins The report reckons PR professionals expect to be working remotely for an average of 2.5 days a week, a slight drop in comparison to 2022 (3 days.)

What remote working policies have Charlotte and Jo established at Lenovo and Zeno, respectively?

“At Lenovo, the corporate guide is in the office three days a week.”

6 mins A discussion of how remote working changes the culture of work - for better and for worse.

“At the moment, the 2-day working week in the office is working well for us (Zeno).”

9 mins Jo talks about the impact of flexible working for women working in PR.

11 mins How has flexible working changed the culture at Zeno?

20 mins “Most people in PR don’t have a work-life balance. What we can’t lose is work-life flexibility.”

Some stats from the Global Women in PR Annual Index

“The benefits of working flexibly continue to be regarded positively amongst PR professionals. With regard to well-being, seven in ten (75%) feel it helps employees maintain their mental well-being and four-fifths (82%) feel it helps maintain a healthy work-life balance, up from 77% in 2022.

“75% believe flexible working allows women to have a family or take on caring responsibilities and still progress in their careers; up slightly from 71% last year. Whilst 74% agree that it helps retain female talent (increasing from 68% in 2022).

A third (32%) believe that flexible working helps women progress into the boardroom.”

23 mins Does flexible working slow down or speed up the PR careers of women?

27 mins What does the next generation want from work? Is the generational divide amongst work-based teams becoming more pronounced?

“Generation X’s mentality is part of the problem.”

31 mins How are women discriminated against in PR currently?

“Pay, pay, pay.”

40 mins The GWPR Index also discusses age discrimination: The survey says “that women after 50 are leaving agencies or want to leave agencies to join the corporate world.

The top 5 barriers preventing women from progressing into senior positions are:

83% of Women predominantly take on childcare or caring responsibilities

73% Lack of flexible working or family-friendly working policies

73% Women tend to be less proactive about asking for a promotion

67% Lack of transparency around recruitment and promotion

66% Lack of work/life balance in a senior role”

Jo and Charlotte reflect on the differences between PR agency roles and in-house.

“There’s not a lot of horizontal room for (people to) manoeuvre. If we could get that into the system, it would encourage people to stay longer.”

“My experience is that in-house is not easier, or better, or more straightforward or less stressful than agency. “

44 mins The Index finds that: “Harassment in the PR workplace, according to the survey, is worryingly common. Half of female PR professionals globally have experienced harassment or inappropriate behaviour at work.”

Charlotte and Jo talk about the types of harassment women experience in PR.

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