Brands make slow progress in tackling ethnicity pay gap

With an ethnicity pay gap of 10.3%, marketing has work to do to prove it’s a career of choice for diverse talent.

Career & Salary Survey 2023To say the marketing industry has a long way to go to address its lack of ethnic diversity would be an understatement.

Marketing Week’s exclusive 2023 Career and Salary Survey finds marketers from ethnic minorities working on a full-time basis are paid, on average, 10.3% less than their white counterparts. This figure is a slight improvement on the 23.7% pay gap revealed in the 2022 edition.

The survey of more than 3,000 marketers reveals white marketers – who make up 84% of the sample – earn on average £64,713 a year.

While acknowledging the smaller sample sizes involved, our analysis finds Asian/Asian British marketers take home £62,952 on average annually, while marketers from mixed/multiple ethnic groups earn a salary of £57,524. Some way behind, the research finds black marketers are paid an average annual wage of £48,529.

The pay data is calculated from full-time (35+ hours a week) respondents providing their basic annual salary, excluding any additional benefits.

Revealed: Marketing’s 24% ethnicity pay gap

Looking at specific levels of seniority, the ethnicity pay gap for senior manager/department manager sits at 1%, rising to 10% for a manager/team manager and climbing to 16% for a junior manager. We can only provide average salaries for these levels of seniority to ensure the sample size is large enough.

Aside from the pay gap, Marketing Week’s data indicates a clear lack of diversity within the marketing workforce. As mentioned, 84% of the more than 3,000 respondents identify as white, up from 75.3% in 2022, but roughly in line with 2021 figures at 84.6%.

By comparison, 6.5% of the sample identify as being Asian/British Asian (down from 12.2% in 2022), 4.4% as mixed race/multiple ethnic groups (down from 5.1% in 2022) and 1.8% as black, African Caribbean or black British (down from 2.7% in 2022).

The clear skew towards marketing roles being located in London and the South East has a bearing from a racial diversity perspective.

Half of marketers responding to the 2023 Career and Salary Survey work in London and the South East (50.9%). According to the 2021 Census, London is the most ethnically diverse region of England, registering an 8.1 percentage point decrease in people who identified as ‘White: English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British’ compared to the previous edition in 2011.

While on average in England 10.4% of total households are multiple-ethnic group households, according to the 2021 Census, this figure rises to 22.3% in London.

Given the wider diversity of London and the high proportion of marketing jobs located in the capital, the Career and Salary Survey exposes the extent to which the industry is still failing to attract and retain talent from diverse backgrounds.

Making pay gap reporting mandatory

Crucially, a quarter (24.1%) of the 2023 Career and Salary Survey sample believe their company is not doing enough to offer career opportunities to people from a variety of socio-economic and demographic backgrounds.

While 23.3% of white marketers are not happy with their company’s approach to supporting talent from diverse backgrounds, this number rises to 26.5% among marketers from mixed/multiple ethnic groups, 30.4% among Asian/British Asian marketers and 46.9% among marketers who identify as black, African Caribbean or black British.

To encourage tangible change, calls are growing to make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory in the same way as gender pay gap reporting.

In January, non-profit People Like Us, which supports diverse talent working in media, marketing and communications, created a petition to make ethnicity pay gap reporting mandatory. This goal is shared by gender equality charity the Fawcett Society, which has identified a clear intersection between the gender pay gap and ethnicity.

Career & Salary Survey 2023Research published by the charity in November, finds more than two thirds of women (68%) have struggled to pay their household bills over the past six months, rising to 80% for black women and those in minority groups.

Pressure for change is being felt at the highest levels. Among the recommendations to come out of the Inclusive Britain report, published in March 2022, the government committed to issue guidance for employers on voluntary ethnicity pay reporting, including case studies of companies already reporting.

Marketing Week’s 2023 Career and Salary Survey statistics tallies with research published last year by People Like Us, which revealed professionals from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds are paid on average of 16% less than their white counterparts within media, marketing and comms.

Two thirds (67%) of the racially diverse professionals polled said they have had reason to believe a white colleague doing the same job was on a higher salary. A quarter (24%) suspected the pay disparity could be as much as £5,000.

According to People Like Us, 26% of people from racially diverse backgrounds left their industry due to not being given the pay rise they felt they deserved, while half (50%) said not getting a salary increase or promotion has caused them to suffer anxiety or depression.

Analysing the impact of the cost of living crisis, separate research from People Like Us and Censuswide found professionals from black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic backgrounds say government support will not see them through the next six months, 7% higher than their white counterparts.

Combined with testimony from the wider industry, the Marketing Week statistics reveal the extent to which the profession needs to enhance the diversity of its talent pool and reposition marketing as a career of choice.

Click here to read all the latest 2023 Career and Salary Survey content