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Closing the Gender Pay Gap Event

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Sarah Leembruggen, MD of The Works Search

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who came along to Women in PR’s fantastic Closing The Gender Pay Gap event on Thursday, I was proud to be a part of such a brilliant panel and it was wonderful to see a great turnout, as well as getting the opportunity to speak to everyone about their experiences on salary and negotiation. The panel was hosted by Mary Whenman of Women in PR and included Communications Director Annette Spencer for an in-house view, Managing Director of Speed Communications Kate Bosomworth for an agency perspective, performance coach Hils Carmichael, and myself. The gender pay gap is still prevalent in the industry, with our Salary Survey results this year showing on average a £10k pay gap difference, and many other survey findings supporting this. A recent article in The Guardian also shared some interesting insights from Deloitte who believe the gap won’t be reduced until 2069.

With the news of the PRCA introducing a policy for organisations of 250 employees and above to be transparent on their salary bandings, the PR industry seem to be making some positive step forwards on this issue. Women in PR’s event was a hugely interesting discussion and I hope there will be many more events like this to address the pay gap issue in the future!

We thought it might be useful to share just a few select tips from the event to help you in your salary and bonus negotiations.

Know your worth

If you know your market value in the industry, you can negotiate your salary much more effectively. Whether by talking to peers, reading industry surveys, or seeking expert advice, make sure you have a clear understanding of what your market value is, and what tangible results you are contributing to the business before you undergo discussions – the key is to demonstrate your value by showing that you’re an independent professional attractive to other companies, but also that you are passionate about your career with this company.

The negotiation

Go to the meeting with a figure in mind, and know what your bottom line is – even if you don’t get an answer then and there. Build your value with evidence, remind your boss of your USPs – this is not a time for modesty, this is business, so sell yourself well. Have you got a plan for how you would like your role to develop? Is there training you want to ask for, or could you ask for mentorship outside of work to help develop your growth and get perspective? Believe in your worth and allow your confidence to show. If it’s appropriate, choose a more informal setting for your meeting to make it more relaxed and open. Be clear on your expectations, in both remuneration and timelines. Never negotiate over email – face to face is best. Be aware of rapport and doing the best you can to communicate effectively, and your viewpoint should demonstrate benefit to the business. If you get a no or a not right now – find out specifically what targets you need to achieve, and what a realistic timeline is, in order to get a yes!

Your focus

If there is an existing awareness of salary differences, this can obviously create some issues or tension. There may be reasons as to why there is a salary difference across colleagues – for example whether someone has brought in the biggest client, or are they the biggest revenue generator – particularly apparent at senior level. Your focus should be maximising the amount you are paid for your service and understand than no-one pays anyone more than they have to. Ensure you are maintaining a good working relationship with the decision maker, and that you are a visible team member, taking the time every month to communicate what you have done well with your boss.

My team and I would also be very happy to answer any questions you have on your salary and bonus, or if you would simply like some further tips on how to negotiate your salary or market worth. You can contact us in complete confidence on 0207 559 6690 or email sarah@the-works.co.uk. I look forward to hearing your stories of how you are getting on in your salary negotiations!

I also wanted to share lovely panellist and performance coach Hils Carmichael’s contact details with you, should you need a calming confidence boost before asking for a pay rise, or some ideas for useful techniques to get you into a better head space – cwsynergy@icloud.com.

I would also like to thank Mary Whenman of Women in PR for the opportunity to be involved in such a brilliant event and to my insightful fellow panellists, and to Laura O’Connell, Managing Partner at Instinctif Partners for offering us such a wonderful venue.