TUESDAY 11 JAN 2022 4:08 PM


Global Women in PR has announced the results of its 2021 Annual Index, looking at the position of women working in the PR and communications industry. Flexible and remote working policies were found to be the top initiative necessary to fix the gender imbalance at leadership level.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people work across the globe, the 2021 Global Women in PR Annual Index reveals that little has changed in terms of gender inequality at leadership level.  The survey found that while the global communications industry is two-thirds female, it continues to be men that dominate the boardroom.

In partnership with strategic insight agency, Opinium, the index surveyed 430 PR professionals, 61% of which were at director level, between July and September 2021. The results found an increased importance placed on the value of diversity at leadership level, with 82% of respondents believing that having women in the boardroom can help improve company work practices. A further 81% said they believe that having women on the board clears barriers to promotion for other women in the business.

Nevertheless, there remains a clear gender imbalance when looking at career progression, as 51% of PR professionals feel that mothers are promoted more slowly than fathers. The index also revealed that women working in PR agencies were twice as likely to be promoted faster or reach a boardroom position than their counterparts working in-house.

Only around half of women in PR currently claim to have a good work-life balance. Despite increased pressure and burnout for many women juggling personal and professional responsibilities during the pandemic, one third said they are not offered any mental health support by their organisation.

Childcare or care responsibilities were found to be the biggest barrier for women looking to progress into leadership positions. A lack of flexible working options, family-friendly policies, and achievability of work-life balance for those in senior positions, were also cited as key barriers to gender equality in PR.

The research included an assessment of what steps were necessary to achieve progress. Remote working was identified as the most important initiative by 57% of PR professionals, followed by financial reward. This has evolved since 2020, when ‘having more senior female role models’ was identified as the key initiative to drive positive change.

“We hope that our 2022 Annual Index will show that the dial has moved to a better place for all of us in our industry, which still remains two-thirds female,” adds Oakes.

Find the 2021 Annual Index here.