Men are twice as likely to reach the top marketing positions than females, an imbalance most likely due to women having children, which sends out a “poor message about equality within the industry”, according to research by specialist marketing recruiter EMR.
The study, conducted among more than 1,300 marketing professionals, found women make up 75 per cent of the professional marketing population in the UK, yet more than twice as many men (18 per cent) reach director level compared with women (7 per cent).
The same disparity is also true of head of marketing roles, with almost a quarter (25 per cent) of men and just 12 per cent of women achieving this position.
The gap between men and women appears most marked between the ages of 30 and 49-years-old, with 17 per cent more men than women reaching director and head of marketing positions in their thirties and 16 per cent more in their forties. This gap does narrow after the age of fifty, where just 2 per cent more men are in senior positions.
The gender imbalance is also reflected on the remuneration sheet. About two thirds (61 per cent) of men received a bonus this year, compared with only half (53 per cent) of female marketers. More men (35 per cent) than women (33 per cent) also saw an increase in their bonus year on year.
The findings tally with this year’s Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey, which found a marked gap between the salaries of male and female marketers and director level executives.
EMR’s report found male marketers are more driven by pay than female marketers, with more men leaving their last job for a higher salary or bonus than women, which could explain the pay differences. In spite of a smaller salary, more female marketers (54 per cent) are satisfied with their job than men (51 per cent) in similar roles.
The inequality across both seniority and pay appears to be due to women having children midway through their careers, according to EMR managing director Simon Bassett.
He says: “At the start and end of their careers, women are relatively level with their male counterparts but their career progression is slowing down in the middle – most likely because of having children and responsibilities of childcare.”
This is despite the report finding women are becoming more receptive to the idea of flexible working, allowing them to juggle their careers and family lives.
Bassett says: “Companies don’t want to lose talented staff so will do what they can to keep them. In the case of men, this tends to be a financial incentive as they are more driven by pay. And while more female marketers said they are satisfied with their job, the difference in the number of men and women getting bonuses sends out a poor message about equality within the industry.”