WPP has a lot on its mind this morning, with its shares heading south on publication of poor results and bleak outlook for 2018, but it’s also chosen to publish its UK gender pay gap report.
This is now a legal requirement for big companies in the UK.
And, in common with most of its FTSE100 peers, there is indeed a pay gap: 14.6 per cent in the UK, 25.5 per cent across its worldwide operations. The average for similar UK companies is 18.4 per cent. 49 per cent of its 14,000 or so employees in the UK are women, a “gender-balanced” workforce it says.
Karen Blackett (below), its newly-installed UK country manager, says: “We welcome the Government’s action on gender pay gap reporting, which will be a spur to further action by employers.“WPP does not struggle to attract female talent. We have a gender-balanced workforce and all our companies work hard to ensure everyone is treated equally and has the same opportunities to develop in their career.
“Nonetheless, in common with the industry as a whole, we need to do more to change the gender profile of our leadership teams if we are to close our pay gap. We are placing an even greater emphasis on the development of female leaders, which includes actively promoting best practice in recruitment, training, mentoring, parental leave and flexible working within our companies.
“From my own experience I know that greater diversity, inclusion and gender balance leads to more successful and rewarding workplaces. Our challenge is to make sure that our management teams better reflect our business as a whole.”
Blackett, who made her name at media agency MediaCom, is one of a number of senior female managers in the WPP. Lindsay Pattison, former head of Maxius globally, is now the company’s “chief transformation officer” with pay equality presumably on her agenda. Tamara Ingram runs JWT in New York.
The UK’s agency trade body the IPA recently found that just 31 per cent of C-suite jobs in UK agencies were held by women.
Apparently the pay gap is nearly 45 per cent at JWT. Oh dear.