Tuesday, August 16

Gender Bias Studies in Internet Marketing: The Surprising Findings of Two Companies

Moz.com, the website for an SEO and search marketing firm, recently conducted a survey of over 3,700 internet marketing consultants and specialists from across the globe to compare salaries for 2014. One of the most startling findings of this survey revealed a great disparity between the salaries of men and women who work in online marketing, and the breakdown of earnings may point to a disturbing trend when it comes to gender inequality among internet marketers.Moz’s survey results stated that the average earnings for anyone working in the internet marketing industry was $65,766, based on their 3,700 respondents. However, men, who had an average salary of $68,785.11, earned significantly more than women, who brought in $57,438.14 annually.This wasn’t the only startling fact when it came to the wage gap for men and women: experience also played into earnings, and it had some strange results. Regardless of gender, those with more experience tended to earn more money across the board.

Breakdowns in gender demographics told a different story, though: women only out-earned men if they fell into the 1-2 and 2-3 years of experience demographics. When it came to the entry level, 3-5, 5-10, and 10+ years of experience categories, males earned more than their female counterparts. For males with 10+ years of experience in online marketing, their salaries averaged over $30,000 more per year than similarly experienced female internet marketing consultants.

WordStream, another online marketer, decided to test the effects of gender bias in online marketing by comparing customer service satisfaction scores between five male and four female employees. The overall results illustrated that not only did female employees receive lower scores than males, but they performed just as well if not better than their male coworkers in other areas.

The scores for male customer service reps at WordStream averaged 3.4 out of 4, while females averaged 2.75, according to each rep’s customer satisfaction ratings. In fact, WordStream found that all male employees, even with the lowest scores, were still rated higher than the female representatives on average, with no female representatives averaging higher than 2.88 on their surveys.

WordStream also analyzed the performance of client accounts based on which representatives supported them and found that the female-supported accounts had higher AdWords scores than the male-supported accounts by as much as nine points. Even one of the firm’s top accounts, which had some of the best AdWords scores and revenues for all clients, still rated its female customer support representative a 3 out of 4 in terms of satisfaction.

So what does all of this mean? The findings for these reports have a variety of implications. To start with, women in general typically have to work much harder just to be viewed as equals in the internet marketing industry, and potential fixes for this issue are hard to come by.

“The days of this trend should be long gone, this is terrible. Men and women in this industry do an equal amount of work, and should be compensated equally as well.” says Eric Hall, C.E.O. of Hall Marketing. “This is extremely disturbing and companies should heed this information to work towards equality on all fronts.”The pay gap may also depend on job title, according to Moz’s survey. Engineers and user experience specialists earned almost $50,000 more per year than those working in web design and social media, which ranked lowest for earnings. If there are fewer women in engineering jobs, then these women may be ineligible for an entire salary level.Larry Kim, founder of WordStream and author of the company’s report on gender bias, stated that men in this industry and others will often catch “lucky breaks” based on the sole advantage of being male. Kim states that one solution is to make sure that women are promoted equally within a company and are given their own opportunities for advancement, such as helping to review advertising pitches or working on other special projects.

For now, online marketers and others in the tech field (such as SEO resellers) should look to a future that ensures equality across gender and salary levels. With less gender bias in search marketing, this could lead to other advantages in online advertising. Hearing from different demographics, such as across gender lines, for example, could lead to higher revenues for internet marketers’ clientele and other untold advantages.

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