at the end of February, Founder of Toronto based PR firm craft pr He did something that he found absolutely terrifying—something that people in his industry rarely do. Lisa Pasquin promoted her company’s pay band on social media.
“I used to feel sick to my stomach,” Pasquin says of her gambits. “It was an incredibly vulnerable moment for me as a leader and for our company. For my generation—I’m 43—and I think especially for women, talking about money To do ‘is not completed.’ The subject matter feels incredibly off-limits to begin with.” Plus, sharing a piece of competitive intelligence with your entire industry is nerve-wracking, she says: “I have a team of absolute rock stars. If anyone wants to hunt them down – those who trust me, that is – I’ve given them a real helping hand.
However, after seeing the reaction, the panic quickly evaporated.
She knew it was likely to spark some buzz among people in the PR industry in Toronto, but Pasquin was amazed by the positive response she received from people across the country in various industries. “The tremendous message has been clarified,” she says. “We need more of this.”
calls for more salary transparency Pay for underrepresented groups in 2020 and beyond has grown louder over the past few years given the increased focus on workplace equity and inclusion following social justice activism. according to a 2021 World Federation of Advertisers Study Cited by Pasquin, women in advertising in Canada earn 5 percent less than men in executive and C-suite positions, and an astonishing 20 percent less than their male counterparts in trainee and junior roles. The gap is even worse for racialized employees at the junior level, at 22 percent.
These statistics are at the heart of what Paskin did, she says. Kraft has been working for the past few years to improve diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, within the company, complete with more detailed job descriptions including salary ranges. The agency also shared his salary range internally with the team through late 2021. But how can they affect change at a higher level? Hitting social media was a good start. “We wanted to spark dialogue. We’re a small agency; we hire two or three people a year, so we can only have so much impact,” Pasquin says. “But we hoped that sharing our salaries in this way might make it easier for other agencies to do the same, and inspire big change in our industry.”
Pasquin’s moment came when she was speaking with a group of PR students at an industry event hosted by the Canadian Public Relations Society. The subject of salary came up, and he read Kraft’s pay bands. She was taken aback by the students’ response; They were surprised that anyone could dare to speak so openly about salary. It became clear to Pasquin that he was entering a profession with little understanding of what its earning potential looked like.
“We hoped that sharing our salaries in this way might make it easier for other agencies to do the same, and inspire big change in our industry”
This is the latest initiative in Pasquin’s quest for a more employee-friendly, inclusive workplace. “I started Craft in direct response to many of my experiences in the agency world,” she says. “Again and again, I had seen agencies claim to be first person, but very rarely centered their employees in their decision making.” When Pasquin opened Craft in 2015, she introduced policies such as unlimited vacation, profit-sharing (where a portion of the company’s profits are distributed among employees), and the Curiosity Fund, a $1,000 annual budget that can be used by employees. Can do anything to find out. Curious about this, whether professional or personal (team members have used the money to learn everything from drumming to golf to hair-braiding to pottery). DEI training is also ongoing from the organization Feminity and a program called Craft Campus, which provides ongoing development for team members through a combination of internal training and external guest speakers.
Pasquin has tried to make its hiring process more inclusive in other ways as well. Every team member involved in the hiring is given anti-bias training and all potential employees who complete assignments as part of the interview process receive an honorarium for their work.
Now, she says, she wishes she’d promoted pay sooner. “Knowledge is power, and it definitely made me feel powerless as an employee and even as an employer. As an employee, I had no idea if I was being compensated well being leaving, and as an employer, I didn’t know if our salary range was competitive,” she says. “The research proves quite conclusively that pay transparency can help close the gender pay gap that still exists in Canada in general and the marketing industry in particular.”
Kate McKinson, President and Founder of Toronto-based PR firm Kate Mckinson Communicationsthinks that, in the long run, salary transparency Along with improving employee morale, retention and recruitment, DEI can help to boost. It can ensure that employers pay underrepresented people the same as non-marginalized workers and save precious time some people don’t have for extensive applications and interviews. And it can help build trust, McKinson says. “When employees know that their pay is based on objective criteria and is in line with their peers, they are more likely to feel valued and respected,” she says. “It can help create a more positive workplace culture and foster a sense of inclusion, which benefits everyone.”
But salary transparency has to go beyond sharing salary ranges, McKinson says. “We need to be clear about salary versus total compensation,” she says, explaining that applicants need context for the numbers. “Are we only talking about base pay? benefits? Holiday? perks? By looking at the variables here, we run the risk of misinterpretation or misuse of information.”
“When employees know that their pay is based on objective criteria and is in line with their peers, they are more likely to feel valued and respected”
There are pros and cons to releasing salary data, according to Lexi Pathak, president and partner at Toronto-based PR firm Faulhaber Communications, On the plus side, pay transparency equalizes the playing field for all genders, ensuring fairness and equality regardless of race or identity, and it saves time in the interview process, she says. If you share what the salary is, you won’t have candidates applying and booking interviews expect more money than is available, “It shows that openness and transparency are values of your business,” she says.
On the other hand, readers warn, salaries are often dictated by revenue, and small or medium-sized businesses may find it harder to attract talent if larger companies share pay bands they can’t compete with. And, readers point out, job descriptions are not necessarily the same across agencies. For example, a coordinator at a smaller agency will have more opportunities to learn than a coordinator at a larger agency, but this is not captured through salary negotiation. “Furthermore, when pay bands are shared,” Pathak points out, “the higher end of the band can create employees’ expectation of earning, which may not be the case if their experience or skill set is in line with the higher end.” No. End of the band.
Pasquin says she got a lot of follow-up questions on social media after she shared the pay bands, like, “What time is it for these salaries?” Or, “How is the annual bonus calculated?” Pasquin is answering as many of these questions as she can directly via LinkedIn and Instagram. He hopes his decision to share his agency’s pay band will inspire others to do the same – even if none have joined him yet.
Over at Faulhaber, the reader says that Kraft’s initiative is a good reminder to freely disseminate salary ranges internally and include them in all of your job postings for 2023. Happens in Canada too,” says Pathak. “Why not ahead of the curve?”