Could HR + PR = parity in pay?

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Does the PR industry lack HR skills and is this contributing to the gender pay gap?

Earlier this year the Chartered Institute of Public Relations published the results of its State of the Profession Survey.

It established that one of the top issues the industry faces is the gender pay gap.

A salary discrepancy of £8,483 in favour of men cannot be explained by any other factor such as length of service, seniority, parenthood, or a higher prevalence of part-time work among women.

It’s a sobering thought when over two-thirds of practitioners in the profession are female. The CIPR has committed to tackling the issue head on through a four point plan, which sets out what the Institute intends to do to help employers narrow the pay gap going forwards.

It can’t happen quickly enough.

Not a women’s issue but an issue of how well you run your business

This Autumn the CIPR will publish the results of research that’s being undertaken on people and performance management within the PR industry.
The survey of PR employers looks at which general practices are in place within member organisations to define pay at a senior and junior level and who is responsible for this.

From work carried out to date, such as round table events with a variety of industry practitioners including freelancers, SME owner-managers, in house practitioners, agency players, academics and recruitment specialists, there is a clear indication of a potential skills gap in terms of the human resources function.

While it’s true this wouldn’t universally apply, for example where public sector and larger organisations are concerned, the CIPR wants to know more broadly if this is actually the case.

The aim is to identify whether best practice is taking place in terms of recruitment, selection and retention of employees. Of key importance is whether the human resources role is carried out by a specialist either internally or through an external contractor, or whether the role is currently assumed by a member of the PR team.

It’s a complex issue but understanding whether the person handling human resources is suitably qualified to do so, and whether benchmarking is taking place and competency frameworks are used, will provide clarity on the scale of the problem.

If there is a large problem, helping CIPR members tackle the skills gap where it comes to the human resources function in their organisations will offer a way forward in the fight to reduce and eliminate any gender pay discrepancy.

It may also help increase the chances of more employers being open and transparent about the pay scales in operation within their organisations, a move that would very quickly make the pay gap a thing of the past.

SarahHallSarah Hall is a pioneer of best practice in the PR industry. The winner of the CIPR’s Sir Stephen Tallent’s medal 2014 for exceptional achievement in PR practice, she sits on the Institute’s Board and Council and leads its gender and diversity work.

When she’s not volunteering her time in this way, she runs her own PR and marketing business from the North East of England and is Mum to two small boys.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @Hallmeister

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