What makes a company great to work for? New and stimulating challenges, for one; a collegial and professional atmosphere, for another. Regular pay increases and good training opportunities are also key. But if you’ve got small children at home, the answer may not be so clear; other things, such as a flexible work schedule, onsite childcare and generous insurance benefits are more of a priority.
The public relations industry is dominated by women. In 1970, according to Ragan’s PR Daily, women comprised only 27 per cent of the US public relations workforce. Today, close to three-quarters of the members of the Public Relations Society of America are female; in the UK, about 64 per cent of those employed in PR are female.
Also, women in the US with bachelor’s degrees in journalism or mass communication disproportionately specialise in advertising and PR, which have more opportunities for full-time employment than other parts of the industry.
But unlike many fields where women dominate at entry level and in the junior ranks but are noticeably absent at the managerial and principal levels, in PR they are increasingly seen in managerial roles.
In the past 30 years, US women have become more educated, outperforming men in university graduation rates. During that time, the disparity between the percentages of women and men working full-time has shrunk considerably too – and yet the pay gap persists, a topic this blog has tackled in the past.
According to a new study by sociologists from Indiana University and Cornell University, one of the biggest contributing factors to the wage gap is the phenomenon of “overworking” – which means working 50 hours a week or more.
In an effort to retain more of their women employees, many companies implement work/life balance policies such as flexible working hours, childcare facilities at the office, and options for telecommuting.
Workplace flexibility – also known as flexitime – is seen as key to helping companies recruit and retain working mothers. But flexitime is also often code for the “mummy track”, a professional path that offers mothers certain benefits, yet provides fewer opportunities for advancement.
Ask any entrepreneur the things he or she has given up for the sake of a business and you’ll hear a long list of sacrifices: sleep, personal time, hobbies and – perhaps most important – time with family.
It isn’t fashionable – and surely not politically correct – for business school career counsellors to caution female MBAs about the professional compromises they may have to make for the sake of their families. Just ask Peter Giulioni, executive director of MBA career services at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.