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oOh!media leads the charge in gender equality in advertising

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oOh!media leads the charge in gender equality in advertising

gender equality

In a landmark moment for the advertising and media industry, the latest findings from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) — a statutory Australian Government agency — have shed light on the state of gender pay gaps, offering a glimpse into the progress and the persisting challenges within the sector. For the first time, WGEA is publishing the gender pay gaps for every Australian employer with 100 or more employees, with the intention to close the gender pay gap.

Amidst these findings, oOh!media emerges as a trailblazer, setting a new standard for gender equality in an industry that has long grappled with disparities.

A beacon of progress

oOh!media, Australia and New Zealand’s leading out-of-home advertising company, has distinguished itself with a remarkable achievement: a ‘negative’ gender pay gap of -2.2 percent. 

This figure is not just a number but a bold statement in an industry where the average gender pay gap sits uncomfortably at +14.6%. In a sector where women have historically been underrepresented and undervalued, oOh!media’s stance is a testament to what is possible through deliberate, focused efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Women comprise 48 percent of oOh!’s workforce of more than 800 and 50 percent of senior leadership. The company has an ambition for women to make up 50 percent of the total workforce by 2026. 

oOh!media’s employer statement highlights their commitment to gender equality. 

Beyond the numbers

The 2023 WGEA Gender Pay Gap Analysis reveals more than just financial metrics; it highlights a shift in the cultural and operational fabric of oOh!media. 

The company’s workforce composition, particularly in the upper quartiles of remuneration, showcases a stronger representation of women, reflecting a concerted effort to not only bring women into the fold but to elevate them to positions of influence and leadership. This is a critical step in an industry that not only shapes public perception through advertising but also influences broader societal norms and values.

Driving change from within

oOh!media’s approach to achieving gender equality is multifaceted, leveraging its female CEO, Cathy O’Connor, one of just 22 percent of female CEOs in Australia, and increasing senior female talent to champion advocacy roles within the ASX 300 listed company. 

This commitment extends beyond internal policies, aiming to challenge perspectives, innovate solutions, and influence the wider industry and community. The company’s transparent accountability and the development of specific initiatives focused on women are pivotal in ensuring sustained momentum and continuous improvement.

“The release of this more detailed WGEA data is a really positive step for Australian companies in closing the pay gap,” O’Connor said. “It takes a lot for a business to achieve truly equal pay for men and women, and we’ve been working hard with a dedicated team and strategies in place for a number of years now.

“Businesses can follow suit by conducting additional pay analyses and developing individual career paths for women, and importantly, by supporting women when they return to the workplace after parental leave. [It is] also [important], to do a lot of work to reduce bias and promote inclusion in the workplace. One of the drivers of our positive result is our sales force, and we’ve got a lot of women in our sales team. 

“As someone who started and built their career in sales, I understand how important it is that women are nurtured and given growth and development in this area. Women are bringing in revenue and driving really strong pay outcomes as a result in sales, so it’s really important for businesses to mentor and support their great talent.”

Initiatives and impact

Among the strategies employed by oOh!media, improved representation of women in leadership roles and their positioning in non-traditional roles stand out. Additionally, making operational roles more attractive to women not only addresses the gender imbalance but also challenges the industry norm, opening up new pathways for women’s participation and advancement. These efforts are indicative of a broader commitment to creating an inclusive culture that reflects the diversity of the communities oOh!media serves.

A call to action

oOh!media’s achievements, as highlighted by the latest WGEA report, underscore a pivotal shift towards gender equality in the advertising and media industry. This progress is not just about correcting pay disparities but about redefining the industry’s future, where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just goals but foundational principles that drive innovation, creativity, and societal change. As oOh!media continues to lead by example, it sets a benchmark for others to aspire to, paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive industry.

Next, check out the OMA’s strong 2023.


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Emily Rayner

Emily Rayner is the editorial director of Niche Media.

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