Women make up 65% of the UK’s public relations profession according to the CIPR’s Annual State of the PR Profession Survey released this week. Yet men are more than twice as likely to earn a salary of more than £50,000, begging the question: “What gives?!”

The survey of almost 2,000 CIPR members was carried out by ComRes. It showed that men are more likely to hold a senior management or director positions than female practitioners, with 18% of male practitioners at director level, 11% at senior management and 11% at managing director compared to 9%, 7% and 9% of female practitioners respectively.

Men are almost twice as likely to be earning a salary in excess of £50,000 than women. The results also showed that male practitioners are more likely (30%) to be a member of their organisation’s board compared to their female colleagues (18%).

For a profession that has a large and vibrant community of female practitioners, I can’t help but wonder why women’s careers (and pay packets!) are lagging so dramatically behind those of their male colleagues.

The ComRes report offers no explanation but states: “We need to urgently understand (sic) how this compares to other professions, the reasons for any disparities and how the profession should tackle it.”

I suspect the trend is driven by the age old challenges of juggling a career with motherhood. Women are settling for less success in the workplace so they focus on raising their families. But men have families too, so why the disparity?