THURSDAY 8 MAR 2018 9:45 AM


Gender pay gap disclosures are revealing huge gender pay gap disparities across the UK. Unfortunately, all too often these revelations are not being presented alongside systematic plans as to how to meet better targets. Billion dollar global media agency Wavemaker is a happy exception. This week, it announced a new internal programme called Women@Wavemaker – another, rather than a token, gender equity building initiative for the company.

The Women@Wavemaker programme aims to help female employees advance to senior roles through continuous mentoring and professional development. The programme appears to be an extension of its existing WPP Stella and Walk the Talk coaching and learning initiatives. Wavemaker found these services to be especially in-demand by its employees after conducting an internal study. It’s a rare example of big business investing in structural reiteration reforms rather than toothless programmes and empty platitudes.

As a communications strategy, the Women@Wavemaker campaign fits the company’s overall message of inclusivity. Wavemaker already offers remote working options and flexibility for employees who are caregivers. Its senior leadership is currently 39% female, nearly hitting its 2020 goal of being 40% represented by women. All of these initiatives are aligned with the recommendations made by PwC this month in its econometric study on how to close the gender pay gap.

It’s not that Wavemaker has no gender pay gap, but that it’s working on lowering it. Despite its employee makeup being 55% women and 45% men in the UK, its female employees occupy fewer senior roles than men and has raised its gender pay gap median averages.

Wavemaker’s communications strategy works because there is action behind it. Next year, when its gender pay gap data gets released again Wavemaker will have a paper trail that points to the work it’s done to improve its year-on-year stats. Other businesses behind the mark would do well to take heed of Wavemaker’s example in planning for 2019.

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