Gender pay gap data revealed: The ‘startling’ state of the media and advertising landscape

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the gender gap for more than 5,000 Australian companies, with the precise state of disparity between the sexes on public display for the first time.

Each company with 100-plus employees was measured across two metrics: the median pay gap between men and women for base salaries, and the median difference for the total amount of pay – once bonuses, super, commissions, overtime, and other perks are factored in.

Across the board, the base salary pay gap was 14.5% between men and women, while the gap leaped to 19% once those executive bonuses and the like were thrown into the equation.

Below is the current state of play across the media and advertising landscape.

Media companies

Some Australian media companies have taken major strides to improve, and in some cases remove, its gender pay gap.

OOh!media has several gender equity initiatives, including (but not limited to) bias reduction measures and personalised development plans for its female employees. The out-of-home (OOH) media organisation boasts a gender pay gap of “negative 2.2%”.

News Corp Australia sports a 9.4% gap across both metrics.

Despite an even split between men and women as chairs, Network Ten’s board members are mostly men (67%). The network’s median total remuneration gender pay gap is 5.5%, with a median base salary gender pay gap of 7.5%.

Seven West Media’s median total remuneration gender pay gap is 13.8% – a higher figure than its median base salary gender pay gap of 10.8%, while Nine sports a median base salary gender pay gap of 13.4%, outweighing its median total remuneration gender pay gap of 10.1%.

In radio, broadcasters are fairly consistent in their gender pay gap statistics. Southern Cross Austereo’s (SCA) median total renumeration gender pay gap is 5.9% and median base salary gender pay gap is 5.6%.  ARN Media’s numbers lie between 10%-15%, while Nova Entertainment sits lower between 5%-10%.

However, the number is slightly more startling for its audio counterpart Spotify, where women make up just 33% of its board (with no female chairpeople). Its median total remuneration gender pay gap of 26.3%. The streaming giant’s median base salary gap is slightly lower, at 23.5%.

TrinityP3 noted the release of the WGEA data comes as the media and marketing industry continues to struggle with female representation in their senior ranks, particularly at the board and senior management level.

“Today’s release of the employer gender pay data is an important moment in understanding the ongoing disparity of pay for women in the workforce,” said Lydia Feely, general manager at TrinityP3 Global Marketing Management.

“The data shines a real light of transparency on the pay gap.”


Majority of the listed advertising agencies have a gap sitting between 10-20% for both median base salary and median total remuneration.

As one of the only independent advertising agencies listed in the report, Howatson+Company has a staggering 25.4% gender pay gap in its median base salary, and 25.5% in its median total remuneration.

Close to the indie agency, WPP’s Ogilvy’s ‘advertising and creative’ submission group has the highest difference across the holding company agencies, with a 23.1% gender pay gap in median base salary and 22.6% gap in total remuneration. However, the network’s largely-female led GroupM has a slightly improved figure of 14.7% across both metrics.

Dentsu has a median base salary pay gap of 18.2%, and median total remuneration gap of 18.1%, while M&C Saatchi has a 9.3% median base salary gap, and 9.2% in total remuneration.

Publicis has a gap of 13% in median base salary, and 12.2% in total remuneration, while Publicis Sapient has gaps of 7.2% and 11.3%, respectively.

OMG Media Group has just a 0.3% median base salary gap, and 0% =in total remuneration. However, Omnicom’s DDB Group sports gender pay gaps of 12% in median base salary and 10.9% in total remuneration.

Enero Group – consisting of creative agency BMF, PR agency Hotwire, online advertising network OB Media and creative tech company Orchard – has a median base salary gender pay gap of 9.6% and median total remuneration of 9.8%.

“We’re really proud to report our workforce is made up of 63% females and our average total remuneration pay gap in Australia is -1.4% in favour of women, versus the industry standard of 16.1% in favour of men,” said Enero Group’s chief people and culture officer Nikki Harrison.

“In acknowledging our progress reflected in the WGEA gender pay gap regarding our median total remuneration, we recognise that while it’s not perfect, it signifies a meaningful step in the right direction in ensuring there is no gap.

“As we continuously emphasise the importance of equality, and are continuously working to create a progressive, inclusive, and fair workplace for all, our commitment to closing the gap remains resolute.”

IPG Mediabrands has a total 0% gender pay gap across both metrics, as Clemenger BBDO follows closely behind with gaps of just 1% and 0.7%, respectively.

“This is a very positive result for Mediabrands and acknowledges the tremendous amount of work we’ve done in this space in the past few years,” Mark Coad, CEO of IPG Mediabrands Australia, said.

“While we certainly acknowledge there is still more work to be done to continue to advance equality, our action plan and gender equality focus areas are focussed on continuing to move the dial in the right direction when it comes to the Gender Pay Gap.”

Initiative has a 5.6% gap across both metrics, while Mediamonks has gaps of 15.3% and 17.2%, respectively.

“This gap isn’t surprising when you look at both the senior management level and boards of major media and advertising companies, in particular in key roles like key management personnel, heads of business or general managers,” Feely said.

“The dominance of men in these roles remains startling. The reality is there is still a significant disparity. It has improved in recent decades but without a strong focus from the senior ranks the gap won’t close any further.

“This is about having tangible policies to support both men and women when it comes to things like parental leave, flexible working but also workplaces looking at their pay policies, value contribution and ensuring they aren’t systematically paying men more than women for the same level of work.”

READ MORE: Gender pay gap data revealed: How did the biggest brand advertisers fare?


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