Diversity and Inclusion

Gender Pay Gap Revealed in UK Events Salary Survey

Skift Take

Men are in the top salary brackets, while women are on the frontlines. Are we ready to turn the page on an old script?

In the events industry, where the stagecraft of glitzy gatherings veils the day-to-day grind, the spotlight has swung to a persistent headliner: the gender pay gap. With its comprehensive data, the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey, produced by You Search & Select and sponsored by Cvent, reveals some worrying truths about the UK events industry.

The survey plays out like a familiar script: men pocketing higher salaries and clutching the reins of senior roles, while women, representing a whopping 78% of respondents, face a disheartening discrepancy in pay. As per the numbers, the gender pay gap isn’t merely a subplot; it’s the main storyline, with 42% of men nestled comfortably in the £65,000+ bracket compared to a scant 20% of women.

Despite calls for action and pledges for parity, the survey’s data sings a refrain that industry veterans know all too well. Of the over 1,300 respondents, 38% of men take a boardroom chair, as opposed to 23% of women.

Women Underrepresented in Leadership

The underrepresentation of women in leadership roles is an echo that resonates across boardrooms. It is the same in the U.S. as well as in other regions. You Search & Select founder Robert Kenward states in the report, “We have a lot of work to do.”

The survey includes comments from 13 UK-based event professionals who add color to the data. Felicia Asiedu, marketing director of Europe, Cvent, is among the commentators and is clearly disappointed to see this gender pay gap. “Despite many positives, one clear area where the industry still needs to achieve progress is the gender gap,” said Asiedu. “For an industry that is so progressive in so many areas and has so many opportunities to be a bastion of equity and diversity, this needs urgent attention.”

Interestingly, two female commentators suggest that the possible gender discrepancies in pay and leadership roles may be due to women not putting themselves forward. 

“I’d like to see the survey delve a little deeper — to see whether women chose not to put themselves forward for the really senior roles. Perhaps preferring a better work-life balance?” said Margaret Reeves, managing director of RefTech. 

“We need to consider that not all women are striving to get to the top, which is great, but the ones that do should be given every opportunity,” said Kerrin MacPhie, CEO of the Meetings Industry Association.

Striving to Close the Gap

The survey subtly underscores an industry at a crossroads with its values. For a sector that prides itself on creativity and innovation, one can’t help but be skeptical about where the same ingenuity is when bridging the gender divide.

As with any good event, the details matter; in the case of the gender pay gap, it’s time for the industry to sweat the small stuff. After all, the strength of any sector lies not in the grandeur of its spectacles but in the equity of its policies and the well-being of its workforce.

The survey and the data it reveals are certainly a step in the right direction and part of the solution to close the gender pay gap. In the introduction to the survey, Kenward states, “The survey is also a powerful tool for promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry. By collecting data on ethnic origin and gender identity, the events sector can identify areas for improvement and can help us make strides toward creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.”

In an era where audiences crave authenticity and employees value purpose, it’s time for the events industry to live up to its potential as a space where talent, regardless of gender, is nurtured, celebrated, and, above all, fairly compensated. The next edition of the Annual Events Industry Salary Survey might just have a chance to spotlight a trendier, more equitable scene, but only if today’s insights become tomorrow’s actions.

The complete survey offers a robust view of salaries across the UK events industry. You can access it at no cost on the You Search & Select website.