Gender gap representation in workforce leadership is a problem—that much has been well established. However, a new study by Equilar has introduced a small, if significant wrinkle. Among marketing executives, women are paid more on average than men.
In 2016, female marketing executives made an average of $400,000 more per year than their male counterparts. In fact, this gap is not new. Female marketers have garnered higher salaries since 2013, though this gender gap has never before been quite so drastic.
Even though women’s salaries have risen dramatically, their representation in marketing C-suite roles has stagnated in recent years. In 2016, women made up 18.5 percent of marketing executives at public companies, a number slightly lower than 2015’s of 18.8 percent.
Though the number is small, marketing departments are ahead of the admittedly shallow curve when it comes to gender diversity. Women make up 16 percent of board directors and just 5 percent of CEOs.
The total number of female marketing executives have grown steadily since 2012, but this is representative of a growth in hiring of marketing executives across the board, not of increasingly progressive hiring practices.
Dan Marcec, director of content and communications at Equilar, suggests a few potential explanations, theorizing that larger companies with higher-compensated executives tend to value diversity more, citing another Equilar report that indicated a smaller-than-average gender gap at the 500 largest public companies. But he’s quick to point out that none are “100 percent certain . . . since each company’s situation is unique.”
The report also offers some insights into increased value assigned to marketing directors. In the last five years, the number of marketing executives listed as one of the top five highest-paid employees at public companies jumped by 157 percent, from 74 in 2012 to 190 in 2016.
“This clearly shows that companies are putting greater emphasis on marketing expertise as a critical role within the C-suite,” wrote Marcec.