Pay inequality between male and female executives for the same job or role is a sad reality of our time. From movies to technology and even the informal sector, a gender pay gap exists. According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI) published in March 2019, women in the country earn 19% less than men.
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However, the advertising industry pretends to be different.
Rohit Ohri, Chairman and CEO of FCB Group India, said FCB Group salaries are entirely talent-based. “I think right now it’s a very particular conversation, we have absolutely no gender pay gap at FCB. It’s all down to talent. We were the first agency in India to have a female CEO Today we have Swati Bhattacharya as our creative chairman.
“In fact, we are focused on increasing the number of women in leadership positions in the company. We have an initiative called ‘She Can and She Will’ where we have female industry leaders talking about their journeys with the goal of inspiring more women to be leaders,” he added.
According to Amit Wadhwa, Managing Director, Managing Director of dentsu Creative India, there is absolutely no gender pay gap in their agency. “For us, it’s very clear, we pay on the basis of scales. We have scales for different roles like planning, strategy, creativity, etc. There is absolutely no difference between a male and a female executive. It’s absolutely merit-based.
According to Taniya Arora, Human Resources Manager at Cheil India, wage disparity in the advertising industry no longer exists, either from a gender standpoint or the other, it is a requirement of the skills associated with the position.
“Before the digital age, the industry was once dominated by top-tier agencies, but in the digital age, more boutique agencies have sprung up, offering flexible working hours and remote working facilities to its employees. Now people have started having multiple opportunities if they are not compensated according to market standards. This has allowed companies to value critical talent within them and offer them fair compensation. Employee retention is now a key factor that makes organizations more flexible with the current scenario,” she explained.
A mid-level manager at a large Indian agency confirmed that she was paid the same as her male colleague. Another young woman working for a digital agency confirmed the same.
Sowmya Iyer, Founder and CEO of DViO Digital, said that at DViO, questions about gender equality never arise because it is non-existent; by default, they only keep it meritorious. “You are a merit-based organization when the conversations aren’t about gender, and at DViO Digital, we work to hire and promote our employees based on merit and not just gender. Therefore , more and more companies should not give importance to this issue and keep it purely meritorious.
“Our current workforce has an even distribution of 55: 45 women to men; a similar trend can be seen in our leadership team, which has a 60:40 ratio (60% women and 40% men), which is not intentional but by default,” she said. added.
However, sharing a personal anecdote, Yousuf Rangoonwala, Founder and Head of Strategy at Kakkoii Strategy, Communications, Technology and Entertainment shared an incident from a few years ago.
“A former colleague of mine told me she made about 40% less than a typical national creative leader. For an industry that runs ads about gender equality, that’s humiliating and hypocritical,” he declared.
“I had actually thought of a campaign with a colleague of mine discussing the pay gap in offices across. However, the brand dismissed it saying it was hypocritical and warned us that creators of the ad would be trolled,” he added.