Women Dominate Public Relations Industry: Over 72% Of PR is Women

women in pr

PR is a great industry for women. Approximately 30% of PR firms have a woman CEO, and 72% of PR professionals are women.


The Holmes Report analyzed 250 PR firms and of that number 75 of them have at least one woman in the lead position. Some of these firms are run jointly by two or more people – and there are 20 really large firms with revenues of $100 million or more per year. Of those 20 firms, 25% are headed by at least one woman.

The #9 globally-ranked PR firm is Brunswick Group, a U.K. based PR firm whose CEO is Susan Gilchrist. She has been in charge since 2012, and the firm specializes in areas that are usually more male-dominated – crisis and financial communications. Brunswick is the only Top 10 Firm with a woman in charge.

Other female CEOs in the top 20 global firms are:

Marian Salzman at Havas PR

Donna Imperato at Cohn & Wolfe

Margery Kraus, founder (and now Executive Chairman) of APCO Worldwide

Karen van Bergen, Porter Novelli

Melissa Waggener Zorkin, co-founder of Waggener Edstrom

There are 39 firms with an annual revenue between $40-99 million. Nine of these firms are run by women, one in Brazil, and the other eight are all in the U.K. or the U.S.

When looking at women not at the head, but in high leadership positions in the top 10 PR firms, Weber Shandwick has 65% female leadership (13 out of 20). Havas has 50% (4 out of 8), and Fleishman Hillard has 43% (12 out of 28). The rest range from 19% to 33% with one exception – Ogilvy – which has 0% of its 4 top leadership positions filled by women.

Though Ogilvy does report they have a management board which includes 11 women and makes most of the management-level decisions for their firm.

Since 72% of the PR workforce is made up of women, the percentage of women in leadership is not as high as most would like.

*The leadership numbers came from company websites where each company listed their top leaders. 

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