IMAA Salary Survey: More female roles in agencies; gender pay parity gap is closing

The Independent Media Agencies of Australia (IMAA) today announced the results of its 2022 Salary Survey, which reveals that creative roles showed the largest increase in indie media agencies and gender parity in leadership roles also improved over 2021.

The IMAA Salary Survey was conducted among 849 indie media agency staff and saw an additional 11 agencies participate in this year’s survey.

Jacquie Alley

The discipline that saw the largest growth was creative roles, now making up 13% of IMAA agency roles. There are now more producers, animators, designers, and copywriters, perhaps as media agencies move to a full-service model, pitch with increased creativity, and evolve their capabilities.

Digital performance and client services roles are the largest in indie agencies, both at 23% of agency disciplines, followed by creative roles.

In addition, there are more female roles in agencies, at 64% (up from 60% in 2021), than male roles at 35% (down from 40% in 2021). Leadership roles are also becoming more gender equal: in 2021, 38% of leadership roles were held by women and in 2022, this has grown to 44%.

The gender pay parity gap in indie agencies is closing significantly, particularly at a leadership level.

The IMAA Diversity and Inclusion Council will further interrogate the anonymised aggregated survey data to identify where any goals for improvement can be set.

IMAA Diversity and Inclusion Council chair, leadership and board member, Jacquie Alley, said: “The 2022 IMAA Salary Survey revealed some pleasing shifts in indie agencies with more part-timers and more female leaders year on year, as agencies prioritise workplace flexibility and value gender diversity in their leadership teams. With the introduction of our D&I Council initiatives such as our International Women’s Day event, the Inclusive Leadership training and our Female Leaders Mentoring program planned for 2023, we are confident more female leaders will be encouraged to take a seat at the executive table.”

Indie agencies have a diverse workforce, with staff from New Zealand, North Africa and the Middle East, pan-European, Oceania, Southeast Asian, Southern and Central Asian, and African countries.

The last Pulse Survey in June found that indie agencies were focused on diversity and inclusion and sustainability, with more than 75% saying that D&I is ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’ to their agency. Indie agency staff have average media experience of 9.3 years and 25% of staff have more than 10 years’ experience. However, the talent crisis has had an impact, with 81%, up from 68% in 2021), of indie agency staff with a tenure of less than four years.

Part-time roles have increased to 15%, most likely as a consequence of flexible working arrangements being the industry standard post COVID. The last IMAA Pulse Survey of members found that eight in ten agencies had adopted a flexible working model post-pandemic.

The average age in IMAA agencies remains at 35, with 80% of the workforce aged between 25-49. Age diversity at either end, however, is still low with only 10% aged under 24 and 10% who are over 50.

“We are incredibly proud of the depth of industry experience that sits within our agencies. With a quarter of our talent pool having over 10 years’ media agency experience and the average sitting at 9.3 years, it is not surprising that clients continue to be attracted to our thought leadership and senior teams. Having said that, our 18 to 24 year old talent pool has increased 40% year on year, so our agencies have the diverse mix of experience and digital natives in their workplaces,” Alley said.

“While there is always work to be done to bring additional diversity and inclusion into our agencies, these results give us great optimism that we are forging together on the right path. We can’t thank our D&I Council members enough for all they are doing to champion an indie industry where everyone feels they belong. I trust they all feel encouraged, as do all IMAA leaders who have renewed their commitment, by these results.”


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