Good news about salaries, not so good about diversity and gender pay gap according to PRCA census

There is much to celebrate in the PRCA’s UK PR and Communications Census for 2021.

Financial results are good, salaries are on the rise

This year’s census, which is based on survey responses from 541 PR and communications professionals across the UK, shows a buoyant PR industry bouncing back after the pandemic. 

The industry has grown by slightly over 6% since 2020, contributing a record £16.7bn to the economy (based on the 2020 value with 6% industry growth rate and 0.85% inflation applied), and comprising an all-time high of 99,900 practitioners.

But it’s still not an industry that is diverse and inclusive

The number of black and ethnically diverse professionals has increased marginally to 13% (from 11% in 2020), although predominantly in junior roles. The census also shows the number of PR professionals who attended fee-paying schools (20%) almost three times the national average (7%).

The gender pay gap is closing, but not quickly enough

Despite an industry that’s overwhelmingly female (67%) female practitioners continue to earn less on average than their male counterparts with women earning an average of £48,293, and men earning an average of £55,312. The gap is now at 12% significantly lower than September 2020 and although encouraging progress it’s still too high.

There’s a mountain to climb when it comes to closing the ethnicity pay gap

The ethnicity pay gap in public relations is £8,084.50 or 16% of the average salary.

46% of white professionals earn an average salary of more than £50,000. By contrast, only 32% of non-white professional earn an average salary of more than £50,000.

The industry needs to get serious about reporting

Unlike gender, currently ethnicity pay gap reporting is voluntary. We hear a lot of good words about wanting to close the gap, however, we’ve yet to see much evidence of organisations coming forward to voluntarily disclose. The data may not make easy reading, and it may make leaders uncomfortable, but we need to start somewhere.

The moral case for pay equity across all ethnic groups should be obvious so what are we waiting for?

Despite the talk the industry still has a lot to do when it comes to race. Unless the industry is brave and takes tangible action here progress will continue to be frustratingly slow.

The PRCA’s Race and Ethnicity Equity Board’s (REEB) Ethnicity Pay Gap Guide is a good place to start. The guide is packed with practical tips on how to track and act on ethnicity pay gaps and provides advice on how to improve ethnicity disclosure amongst black, Asian and ethnically diverse professionals.

Written by Ann-Marie Blake, PRCA Race and Ethnicity Equity Board (REEB) member