Perhaps you’ve noticed. It’s not a new issue. According to Kami, 87 percent of top marketing bloggers on the Ad Age 150 are men (prompting last summer’s W list meme). And 90-95 percent of the top twenty bloggers on Brendan Cooper’s Friendly PR Index are men. This overwhelming statistic reflects recent social media speaking trends, too (image credit: dunechaser).
There are some reasons for this:
- PR agency and consulting life can be grueling, and many folks opt for corporate jobs by the time they hit their 30s.
- Men often migrate to sales in general (a very male dominated profession), and power in business is often granted to bread-winners.
- Balancing career and family, a choice thrust on women more than men (though their are plenty of great professional Dads in the same situation, too).
- If a mom chooses both a full-time career and motherhood, time management becomes essential. Consistently blogging 3-5 times a week is probably not the top priority.
Yet, these — and many other possible reasons — do not account for such an imbalance. In fact, a majority of women are still not found in the upper echelons of PR agency management either. And we are talking about an industry that has an overwhelming female majority within its workforce.
Examinations of the actual ranks of PR firms shows change may be in the works. We are seeing some movement with Marcia Silverman’s chief executive leadership at Ogilvy. Only twenty-five percent of Edelman’s leadership is female. But about forty percent of Fleishman’s leadership is female.
It’s the same thing in smaller agencies, too. CEOs and the very top leaders are men. But some agencies are seeing significant minorities and even majorities of women in their leadership. How about Todd Defren’s SHIFT’? Better than most with the ladies taking 40 percent of the senior leadership.
One of the more well known boutiques — SpeakerBox — in DC is run by Elizabeth Shea. But then you have Strategic, Merritt, Levick, etc. all run by men. The percentage is the same. O’Keeffe & Company run by local government PR guru Steve O’Keeffe has more than 50% women in his senior leadership, coming close to matching industry workforce levels.
Obviously, my little company is the same. We are about to hire our first senior manager, all of the candidates are women. Given the actual industry’s workforce this seems right to me.
Hopefully, progress will continue in agency ranks, and spread to the PR blogosphere, too. Because approximately 90 percent male leadership seems just wrong.