Download Full Report: Mind the Gap: Women’s Leadership in Public Relations
Download Social Graphics: Summary of Themes and The Call to Action

This is an IPR Signature Study. Sponsored by IPR and KPMG.

It’s well documented that men hold the vast majority of CEO positions in the top PR agencies, with some estimates topping nearly 80 percent. In an industry that is predominantly women, this makes the gap between men and women especially pronounced. Studies point to several factors impacting women’s rise to the C-suite, including work-life considerations and practices, reduced likelihood to receive milestone promotions or pay increases, and unconscious biases.

Most of the current research available doesn’t address issues specific to the public relations and communications profession. So, we’ve set out to address how we can achieve better and quicker progress that empowers and moves more women into leadership positions. This includes how companies and the industry can support women to achieve coveted senior positions and identifying practical actions that mid-level women can take to navigate their careers.

This is part one of a two-part study of mid- to senior-level women and men in public relations to analyze women’s leadership in the field. The report opens with some notable quotes, followed by the “Summary of Themes,” and ends with a “Call to Action.”

Full Video Interview:

 

Methodology
Through a series of 10 focus groups with both male and female, mid-to-senior-level leaders, IPR and KPMG set out to address how we can achieve better and quicker progress that empowers and moves more women into leadership positions. This includes how companies and the industry can support women to achieve coveted senior positions and identifying practical actions that mid-level women can take to navigate their careers.

Some of the findings of the study include:

  • Sexism still persists in the workplace; some women felt excluded from the “boys club” and encountered stereotypes in the workplace.
  • Almost no male respondents said they had personally experienced discrimination in the workplace, while nearly all women said they had.
  • Informal mentorships may work better than formal mentorship programs.
  • HR policies were an opportunity for change—imbalanced policies create an imbalanced playing field.
  • Work-life fit is an issue for both men and women who said they always felt pressure to be “on.”
  • Both women and men acknowledged an industry pay gap.

The study also features stories from women and suggestions for change. The “Call-to-Action” includes:

  • Gender equality is not just a cause for women but men, too.
  • Imbalanced policies and pay gaps can be addressed by organizations now.
  • Leaders must prioritize change and action, while having open conversations with their employees and the industry.

Thank you for reading our report! Stay tuned for Part Two of the study.

 

© 2019 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. The KPMG name and logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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