Male and female symbols on sign

Celebrating Equal Pay Day

Today is March 31st. To many, this signals both the end of a month and a quarter and the beginnings of spring. But this year, March 31st also equals the number of additional days that women have to work to earn what men earn on average in the previous calendar year (91 days into 2020). While we recognized Equal Pay Day later last year on April 2nd it’s still a glaring reminder of the work to be done as a society to raise awareness and create a just working environment for all. As an agency that partners with organizations on the frontlines of nonprofit advocacy and social justice movements we are proud to share that Media Cause has reversed its small pay gap from last year and now has women making slightly more than men in the same role. 

As an agency, we took a big step last year in our commitment to achieve equal pay at our company. While we should formally be celebrating Equal Pay Day more than once a year, now is a better time than any to revisit our commitment to equal pay and highlight some improvements and learnings we’ve noticed over the last 12 months.

Our commitment last year focused on 2 core areas- increasing internal transparency into our salary data and taking the 3% agency pledge for pay equity. With transparency last year we shared both gender-specific company salary data, overall salary ranges for each role and the overall financial modeling. Aside from aligning with our equal pay pledge, increasing transparency into salary data truly aligns with our culture of always trying to create a supportive and transparent culture. 

Our other initiative was taking the  3% agency pledge for pay equity and pledging our commitment to these 3 pillars:

  1. We have conducted a wage review within the last two years or plan to within the next 12 months
  2. We are committing to rectifying like-for-like disparities or will do so following our review
  3. We are committed to advancing pay equity through collaboration, communication and continued identification and promotion of best practices to close the wage gap in the advertising industry

Heading into the second year of our pledge, we’d like to share the data and learnings from our first internal audit. Something we struggled with last year and will continue to struggle with this year is that we are constrained by having a small company to benchmark data and we will not risk exposing any individual metrics. While there are pretty extensive analysis models out there for calculating gender equity pay, what works best for us is by calculating the average salary for all roles in the company, then calculating the percentage under or over the midway point for each employee. 

Last year we found that there was a 4.4% difference in male to female pay. We took that number to heart and by instituting some practices in the above pledge we’re happy to see that has shifted over the last year. Females are now making 101.5% above the middle of the range while males are at 99%, an inverse difference of 2.5%. While it’s hard at a company of 36 to anchor to statistically significant data points we’re proud of the very limited pay gap we have at Media Cause.

Something we’ve also started auditing in the last year is career progression and opportunities for everyone to grow.  During our annual review process this year we were committed to both equalizing the process for promotions and salary increases, as well as continuing to encourage employees to advocate for themselves as they advance in their careers. 

Over the last year, we found that 43% of females and 29% of males were promoted. It’s always been our commitment to give raises and promotions based on merit and experience and this is a data point that we will continue to monitor.

Another area we’ve been monitoring more closely over the last year, despite having less data to back it up, has been in recruiting. In this area, we’ve taken Glassdoors Pay Equity Pledge to commit to paying equitability for equal work + experience. Be it by identifying and eliminating any unconsciously gendered language in our job descriptions to reviewing each job offer to ensure it’s an equitable offer based on experience, it’s imperative that every new team member joins Media Cause on equal footing and is set up to succeed.

What’s Next

To put it quite simply, more of the same! Something that we acknowledge across all internal projects and initiatives is that work is never done. There’s always room for improvement, and iterations along the way. While we’re certainly happy with some of the strides we’ve made in equal pay over the last year, there are plenty of more internal initiatives to test out. We hope other agencies join us in helping to shift the pendulum and share their learnings along the way.