Don't disclose your salary to bridge gender pay gap, study suggests

According to Major Players' new research, candidates declining to disclose their salary are landing higher offers.

Employees in the media and marketing industry are refusing to disclose their salaries in an attempt to close the gender pay gap, according to research from recruitment company Major Players that coincides with Equal Pay Day today.

The study found that almost a quarter (23%) of hiring managers admitted that they have already faced a situation in which a candidate has refused to disclose their salary and 43% stated that they are very likely to implement this initiative for future candidates. 

Joanne Lucy-Ruming, managing director at Major Players, said: "Now, more than ever, candidates expect clarity and discussion regarding the gender pay gap of a potential employer. Employers that demonstrate they take the pay gap seriously and show that they are taking positive action to correct any bias and promote inclusivity are far more successful in not only attracting talent but then retaining them.

"Companies with a large pay gap are likely to face difficulties when trying to retain staff and hire. A clear action plan of how they are going to rectify the gap is imperative to correct any negative views and regain the trust of current employees."

According to Major Players’ annual Salary Survey, there is a 23% gender pay gap in favour of those who identify as male across the creative, design and tech industries.

In the latest survey, which questioned hiring managers on their views on candidates disclosing salaries, 70% admitted that they feel there is a gender pay difference in their sector, with the most significant area being advertising, media, creative and marketing.

The Office for National Statistics' Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings for 2018 found that there is a 21% gap between hourly earning of advertising account managers and a 19% gap between marketing professionals. This compares with an average of 7-8% across a range of administrative sectors.

Of those surveyed, 50% were female, and 73% of those admitted that they feel there is a gender pay gap in their industry. Likewise, 73% of men agreed that there is a gender pay gap in their industry.

Closing the gap

According to Major Players, not disclosing salary information works towards closing this gap, with one candidate recently receiving a job offer that was £10k more than her current salary after she declined to reveal what she was earning. The offer brought her up to what she should have been earning at her level and experience.

Sharing her advice with women in advertising and communications who don’t believe they are paid equally, Lucy-Ruming said: "Understanding your worth is crucial to getting pay parity. Make sure you are educated on what market average is for your role, skillset and level."

Women who feel they are not being paid equally should ask for pay transparency. Lucy-Ruming added: "Not disclosing your current salary is a big step forward in demanding pay parity and earning your worth. When applying for a new role, outline your salary expectations – based on the research carried out in your industry.

"Beyond that, partner with recruiters or find a mentor who can help you justify and benchmark your experience. These people will support and encourage you, which should give you the confidence to push back."

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free