Gender Pay Equity
in the American Advertising Industry
While the prevalence of a gender pay gap in America is known, the extent of the pay gap in the advertising industry is less clear. Government data shows that in the UK, 1 in 4 ad agencies have a gender pay gap of at least 25% (Campaign). American advertisers, however, have no clear base regarding salaries, relying instead on their networks and sites like Fishbowl or Glassdoor to discern what fair pay is for their role, making understanding and fighting the gender pay gap in American advertising extremely difficult.
In 2022, an article tracking anonymous ad women's salaries by Jess Watts, Brand Director and cultural researcher, led to an opportunity to team up with UCLA to charter an academic study on the state of pay for American advertising professionals.
Jess Watts and Dr. Nancy Wayne, Professor Emerita of Physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and founder of Women Advancing Together® launched an industry-wide survey early March, 2023, as part of their research in identifying and sizing pay gaps in the industry, and to get a clearer picture on what factors may contribute to gender pay gaps in pay in advertising. Data collection ended May 2023, with an intent to publish end of 2024.
The study aims to be a critical first step in establishing the existence and size of pay among American ad professionals as result of their gender.
Black and Hispanic women in the US are not projected to reach pay parity with white men until 2133 and 2220, respectively.
Institute for Women’s
Policy Research, 2019
Less than a quarter of ad women (23%) believed that their pay was equal to their male peers
Advertising Week survey, 2017
What will the study investigate?
The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent of gender pay gaps within the U.S. advertising industry. This survey will track comparable pay men and women receive by demographics, geography, years of experience, agency size, reported performance, motherhood, and other crucial factors.