By Monica Aza
When asked to name female-dominated industries, most people assume careers related to nursing, health care and social services, so it may come as a surprise to some that the public relations field is another example. The vast majority of PR practitioners are women: 72 per cent, according to a study done by the Holmes Report.
However, there is a notable disparity in the percentage of women in the PR workforce overall versus the percentage of women in PR leadership roles.
The Holmes Report determined the following after surveying 250 PR firms:
• At least 70 firms had at least one woman in charge.
• Of the 10 largest PR firms in the world, Brunswick Group (ranked No. 9) was the only firm with a female CEO.
• Among 20 large firms, the study concluded that only six of them had a female CEO, meaning a dismal 30 per cent of the top leadership roles were given to women.
Although these trends are hardly surprising, many PR practitioners hope to see leadership changes that better reflect the workforce. A female-dominated industry with a disproportionately small female leadership could pose some serious concerns. For example, would this disparity affect the advancement potential of female PR professionals? Would it create a subtle bias in who is hired to PR leadership positions in the future?
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