Ogilvy among WPP agencies with highest gender pay gaps

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Ogilvy & Mather Group’s gender pay gap in the UK is the second highest at WPP in favour of men, with a median pay gap of 23%, according to WPP’s UK Gender Pay Gap Report for 2021.

The agency falls just behind WPP 2005 Limited, which reported 23.6%. Ogilvy’s gender pay gap has marginally decreased since the previous year, dropping from 24.7%. 

This follows a trend for the world’s largest advertising network, as WPP’s 2021 report reveals an overall decrease in its median pay gap from 2020. It has dropped from 17.5% to 15.6% for all of its eligible companies.

Salmon Limited/Wunderman Thompson Commerce and Mindshare Media UK Limited followed with some of the highest gender pay gaps. The former reported a gap of 21.8% and the latter, 16.9%.

MediaCom North Limited had the lowest with 0.6% followed by MediaCom Holdings Limited, with a  jump to 7.8%, but a mean average of 35.0% – the highest of all the companies.

MediaCom Holdings Limited has also increased from the previous year, where it reported a median pay gap of 4.2% and a mean pay gap of 26.4%. In contrast, MediaCom North Limited has dropped from 10.2%.

In 2018, J Walter Thompson was the worst WPP company in this respect with a median gender pay gap of 38.27%. Since it merged with Wunderman later that year, the pay gap has significantly improved.

Wunderman Thompson had a median gender pay gap of 13.8%, plummeting from 21.4% in 2020.

WPP said that although women make up the majority of its UK workforce, with 47% of its more than 10,000 employees being men and 53% being women, the main reason for its gender pay gap is the number of women in senior positions.

However, the network reported the number of women in its top earners in the UK is increasing. In 2021, women made up 42% of employees in the top quartile, which has increased from 38% in 2017 when the data was first collected. 

WPP said that it is now channelling its efforts into attracting and promoting more women into its senior roles. Last year, the business introduced more efforts to achieve this goal.

For example, it expanded its women-centric development programmes like Walk the Talk and Fast Forward. It also brought Elevate to the UK, an originally US-based sponsorship programme designed to provide tools to support Black women in their career growth.

WPP said that more women were enrolled on global programmes such as NextGen Leaders, which aims to diversify the talent pipeline, and Maestro, a senior leadership, client-focused course.

It also partnered Brixton Finishing School and the Uninvisibility Project to launch VisibleStart, a free UK training programme for women over the age of 45 who want to enter or rejoin the industry.

Targeting underrepresented groups and updating parental leave policies were also measures taken by WPP to improve its gender pay gap.  

“Investing in a culture where diversity thrives and everyone has the opportunity to do their best work powers our creativity and growth as a business,” Jennifer Remling, chief people officer at WPP, explained. 

“While we have seen a reduction in our UK gender pay gap across WPP, we need to continue to invest in the development of women at all levels to help them achieve their full potential. 

“We know that progress relies on accountability so we now track our progress against DE&I goals that are linked to leaders’ compensation and quarterly reviews.”

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