That women are so prevalent in the public relations business should be news to no one (especially frequent visitors to this site).
It’s a fact that women comprise 63 percent of PR specialist roles and 59 percent of PR management positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, many believe that females are underrepresented at the C-level in PR.
Why? Why are there so many more women working in PR than men?
The Atlantic gave reporter Olga Khazan 3,700-plus words to answer that question in a piece that was published last week. Khazan interviewed 10 women who work in public relations to help find the answer.
It’s worth your time to chew on the whole thing, but we’ll hit a few highlights for you below:
- The media paints a glamorous picture of what comprises a female PR professional’s life. According to Khazan, “nearly every worman I spoke with mentioned Samantha Jones,” the fictional character from Sex and the City.
- Journalism is low paying and unstable. Plus, being a cub reporter is decidedly more awful than your first couple years as a PR pro. Khazan reports, “While female news reporters make $43,326, on average, (to men’s $51,578), female PR “specialists,” the lower-level job in the BLS categorization, make $55,705, while their male counterparts make $71,449.”
- In college, Khazan points to research that shows women “tend to value ‘non pecuniary,’ or non-monetary aspects of their college majors slightly more than men do, while men value their potential future earnings slightly more.”
- “Studies have shown that women tend to collaborate more and prefer to work on teams, whereas men usually do better in competitive environments and prefer to fly solo. That male approach works well for journalists, while having a bit of a ‘people-pleaser’ gene probably attracts and/or makes it easier for women to excel in the PR environment,” Jennifer Hellickson, director of marketing at SweatGuru in Portland, Oregon, told The Atlantic.
The upshot? Khazan writes, “If there’s any takeaway from all this, it’s that the women-in-PR trend started happening for a number of reasons, and it’s not inherently bad, so it never stopped.”