Tag Archive: Non-profits

It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. And that I think might be one of the additional superpowers that quite frankly women who don’t ask for raises have. Because that’s good karma, that’ll come back.” – Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias.” – Nadella follow-up tweet


The new Microsoft chief hit the wrong button on his PowerPoint clicker …

Or will his dentist find foot prints in his mouth?

Women should not ask for pay raises and just rely on “Karma.”

There is no Namaste at Microsoft today.

Sexism is Alive and Well

As Almost DailyBrett has previously commented sexism still lurks, even in women-dominated professions, including public relations.

Working at Edelman Public Relations five years ago, our Silicon Valley office was 134 kind souls, 110 with XX chromosomes. There was no line at the men’s room, simply because representatives of the knuckle-dragging gender were in short supply. Nonetheless, we male folk were well compensated.

Looking around my public relations and integrated marketing communication classrooms at Central Washington University, approximately three-out-of-every-four students is female. A comparable trend exists at the University of Oregon and conceivably other universities teaching public relations and communications around the nation.

And despite the undeniable numerical superiority for women practitioners, there is a pervasive, stubborn and resolute pay gap between men and women in public relations. According to a San Diego State School of Journalism & Media Studies quantitative study of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) members, published in Public Relations Journal, male public relations practitioners earn on the average $84,368, compared to women at $76,063. That amounts to an $8,305 difference in annual salary between the two genders. At first glance, that figure sounds relatively close.

However, the magnitude of the different pay for equal work comes into play when you multiply the $8,305 delta over the course of a 40-year career, bringing the total to a staggering $332,200 loss of earning power for women practitioners, their children and their families.

Microsoft’s Nadella is undoubtedly one bright dude, but he made comments Thursday that are not smart. Weren’t blacks told to chill out, have faith and wait out inequality? That seems to be the message that Nadella extolled about pay inequity in the workplace. Nadella upon reflection (and probably a kick in his nether region by Microsoft’s PR department) fired off the obligatory apology tweet … but the damage was done.


“Rounding Error”

One of my former students was being offered an entry-level job by a West Coast public relations agency. She was thrilled by the prospect of a $33,000 annual salary and believe it or not: Three weeks of annual vacation (try taking off 15 working days at any major agency).

When it was suggested that she not take the first offer, and to ask for $2,000 more per year (essentially a rounding error for the finance department of a multi-million-dollar agency), she initially balked. Eventually she diplomatically said she needed a $35,000 salary, and the hiring manager didn’t even blink.

Upon reflection, she said (her words, not mine) that women are not good in negotiations and asking for what they want. Almost DailyBrett has no empirical data to confirm or deny that assertion, but she was convinced it was true.

What Must Be Done

Do public relations, marketing, social media and investor relations professors and instructors have a role to play in closing the communications salary pay gap between men and women? The answer is affirmative particularly when it comes to mentoring.

What jobs pay more? Technicians or managers? Let’s face it, technicians will always be paid in the five-figure range, the only variable is what is the first number. Some women may prefer working behind the scenes and being an integral part of a team. That’s fine, but these jobs most likely will never lead to six-figures.

Why not encourage more women students to be leaders of teams and to train for management in public relations, marcom, investor relations or social media? When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton said “that’s where the money is.”

There is also a major difference in pay rates within communications segments: Investor relations, financial communications and corporate public relations pay very well, non-profit and community relations not so much.

The average pay for practitioners in investor relations/financial communications is $117,233 … ka-ching. For corporate public relations, professionals are earning on an average, $88,827 … conceivably with managers, directors and vice presidents making above the median.

Conversely, community relations jobs pay $63,437 and non-profit positions, $62,275. Think of it this way, it is a big leap from the median to the six-figure mark for those working in community relations and/or non-profit.

Should women students be encouraged to seriously consider managerial positions, particularly those in high-paying investor relations, financial communications and corporate public relations disciplines? The answer seems obvious.

Ultimately, the choice will be made by the graduating student as she embarks into the wide-ranging field of public relations, marcom, investor relations and social media. Her decision and those made by literally thousands of her colleagues may play a pivotal role in closing the public relations gender pay gap once and for all.






The Rise of Malcontent CPOS

Just found out that I personify a new acronym.

Yep, I am a card-carrying member of the “CPOS” club or “cell-phone onlys” that is confounding political pollsters and most likely telemarketers as well.

On top of that, I am also a dedicated member of the-why-do-I-need-a-daily-newspaper-dropped-at-my-doorstep-by-some-sleep-deprived-dude-driving-around-burning-fossil-fuels-before-the-birds-wake-up-in-a-derelict-car club. The publishers of daily newspapers don’t want to hear this, but the Internet is just fine. Ditto for HDTV with Fox News, CNN, CNBC, ESPN, ESPN2, Comcast…I have more than my fair share of information, quite frankly more than my brain can accommodate in a give nanosecond.

The existence of CPOS was the subject of an Economist piece http://www.economist.com/node/17202427 that reported that cell-phone onlys were not adequately represented in surveys conducted by political pollsters, casting doubt on the validity of their results.

“The immediate problem is the rapid growth in the number of people who have only a mobile phone, and are thus excluded from surveys conducted by landline (how primitive),” The Economist reported. “About a quarter of Americans are now ‘cellphone onlys’ (CPOS) in the industry jargon and this poses both practical and statistical difficulties.”

Namely, we are less likely to answer our phones (yep, voice mail, caller ID and vibrating phones are good things), less likely to participate in surveys (check) and we often retain our telephone numbers when we move from state-to-state making it harder to know where we actually reside. And the problem that pollsters and telemarketers have with this scenario is exactly what?

Bringing a small grin to my face is the knowledge that automated services (“robocalls”) are prohibited from calling mobile phones by law, and so pollsters (and by extension telemarketers and non-profits) have to hire real people to call people with cell phones at an additional expense. Or pollsters could just not call CPOS, figure that these malcontents are 10 percent of the sample and “rinse” the results to compensate for our presence.

The Economist said that CPOS are “younger, less white, and poorer than the average American. They are also more likely to vote Democratic.” Gee, that really describes me to a tee.

Unmentioned by the Economist is that the recession has prompted literally millions of Americans to question some of their expenses. Why do we need a landline when we are already shelling out for a cell phone, and we may even have family members on our plan…resulting in additional lines? Personally, I am already paying for three cell phones. Why do I need a landline?

The same is true for a daily newspaper. That may sound contrary to the natural whims of a news junkie, who is competing for a master’s degree in Journalism. The bottom line is that I was waking up each morning, grabbing the paper, throwing it on the counter, heading to the computer, checking my e-mails, looking at the stock ticker, scanning the overnight box scores and heading off to work.

And when I came back in the evening? There was the newspaper, now a day old. And who was getting the most benefit? My alley cat, Percy. Guess, I don’t need to tell you how much he appreciated the classified section.

Guess I have been hanging around anal Silicon Valley engineering types way too long.

For those living outside tech hubs in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, New York, Massachusetts, Muenchen etc., geeks adore their charts, numbers and “data points.” They don’t do “nuance” or “ballpark” estimates; just the facts mam to the exact nanosecond or at least eight digits after the decimal point. That’s good calibration.

Microsoft is naturally populated with gear-heads, in fact thousands of them. They invented Word for documents, PowerPoint for presentations, but more to the point they created Excel spread sheets so we can populate these grids and columns with numbers and data points.

Why can’t senior public relations, media and marketing pros with liberal arts degrees use these same spread-sheet tools to weigh competing paths to determine the best course for our careers? We have all read about the jobless recovery nationwide and worldwide. Some are even suggesting that systemic European-style double-digit unemployment will be the new norm. I am much more optimistic.

In the last decade we experienced a severe labor shortage with a corresponding talent attraction and retention crisis. We should be prepared for a paradigm shift (there’s an oldie, but a goodie) from a Seller’s (employer) market to a Buyer’s (employee) market. Don’t be surprised if the days of multiple offers are right over the horizon.

Humor me. Let’s say that you have two competing offers. Will you simply just compare salaries and benefits and then consider who will be your boss and what will be your responsibilities? That’s not how an engineer would approach it.

The geeky engineer would get out his or her Excel spread sheet and create (at least) three columns: the first for the issue to be assessed, analyzed, probed and scrutinized; the second for prospective employer “A”; and the third for prospective employer “B.”

Filling in the data points on the spread sheet, let’s first compare the competing offers from Employer “A” and Employer “B.” Now factor in benefits (e.g. medical, dental, vision, IRA). Okay, let’s include bonus and related percentage of salary. Is the bonus paid yearly? Twice yearly?

Are both companies, private? If so, what are the chances that either or both will ever go public, and if so, is there an equity incentive for you?

Are both companies publicly traded? Or is one publicly traded and the other is not? What is the stock price and performance of the public company’s shares? What are the analysts saying?

Will you be given the opportunity to participate in ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) and offered stock options? Does that mean that opting for a publicly traded company is better than working for a privately held company or even a non-profit? Not so fast my friend. Maybe the privately held company will be acquired or opt for its own IPO. Or maybe it will just stand alone?

What will be your cumulative income including salary, benefits, stock compensation, employer IRA contribution etc after two years with Employer A and then Employer B?

What are the internal risks to the two jobs? Are you going to be pressured to drum up new business and reach set quotas? What are the consequences of not succeeding whether or not you have any influence (e.g. massive recession)? What are the external risks associated with the jobs? For example, could Employer A be acquired? Could Employer B come under severe scrutiny by the SEC? Every employer has rumors that go with them. What is being said on the grapevine?

Don’t just read the lines; read in-between the lines.

Now let’s add housing, weather and transportation to the spread sheet. Do you have to move? Will you be offered relocation? What are the living costs in one locale vs. another? What are the differences in culture and climate? Can you (and your family, if applicable) handle extreme heat? Endure bitter cold? Tolerate frequent rain and gloom?

Here’s a big one for many: How long is your commute and are there any alternatives to battling other drivers in a slow parade to-and-from work every day. Let’s say it takes you one hour on the average to commute in the morning and ditto for the afternoon. That translates into two hours each day, 10 hours each week, 40 hours each month and approximately 480 hours each year…you just lost 20 days of your year to commuting…How much is that worth to you in terms of not only wear and tear on your vehicle, but wear and tear on you? Does $20,000 sound right or about $1,000 for each day ($125 per hour) that you are losing to unproductive commuting?

Probably the most important contrast is where are you going to be career-wise with Employer “A” in five years compared to the same amount of time with Employer “B?” Assuming a positive working environment, what can you reasonably expect to be doing in five years with Employer A vs. what is your career path during the same time period with Employer B?

And let’s not forget what is the reputation and brand management history of the two prospective employers? Are you comfortable with the two stories, or one over the other, or neither of them? And do you want to be telling this story and building this brand for the next year, the next two years…

What do you want to be? Where do you want to be? What will be your quality of life? When and if the time comes to make a key employment, career and lifestyle decision, a geeky spread sheet may be the most important item in your tool kit.

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