1 March 2019

AKQA London 2018 Gender Pay Gap Report

AKQA has implemented a programme of initiatives resulting in year-over-year progress against our gender pay gap. Our median gap has improved by 8.9 percentage points to 21.6%, and our mean gap has improved by 7.9 percentage points to 24.7%. Recognising our 2018 results are above the national average, we have a commitment to close the gap over the next three years. We published our data at the same time as WPP UK Companies.

This report for AKQA London:

  • Provides our data for AKQA London, our UK subsidiary. The data shows a median improvement of 8.9 percentage points and includes our statutory Gender Pay Gap filing for April 2018.
  • Identifies the causes of the gender pay gap.
  • Shares the progress we have made in the last twelve months since our April 2017 report.
  • Outlines the continuous initiatives we have introduced.
  • Continues our ambition and plan for closing the gender pay gap in the next three years.

AKQA London gender pay gap data

Median pay gap
Mean pay gap

Our April 2018 data highlights the equal representation progress we have made since April 2017 by closing the gap by 8.9 percentage points in twelve months.

The data shows there is a lower representation of women in senior leadership positions, which attract higher levels of pay. The Quartile detail below shows the movement we are making to address this.


This is a list of AKQA London employees’ hourly pay ordered from lowest to highest, in each quartile pay band. The list is then divided into four equal groups.

Lower pay quartile
Lower middle pay quartile
Upper middle pay quartile
Upper pay quartile

Progress from April 2017 to April 2018

  • The data from the last twelve months shows a median reduction of 8.9 percentage points – from 30.5% to 21.5%. The national average has reduced from 18.4% in 2017 to 17.9% in April 2018. Our initiatives, continuous development and further learnings across the company will help us close our gap.
  • 2018 data shows female representation increasing across the top three Quartiles as we increase representation of women at senior level positions.
  • We have improved our diversity of recruitment and ensured greater representation of women in our talent programmes to help close this gap.
AKQA London Gender balance
Management team

How we made progress from April 2017 to April 2018:

Leadership and recruitment
  • We’ve increased visibility of women in senior roles and diversity across all our studios: www.akqa.com/our-people. AKQA mandates diversity in our hiring shortlists, as parity achieved in recruitment will also lead to increased parity at the most senior levels over time.
  • We work with recruitment partners like The Dots and D&AD who focus on candidates from diverse backgrounds. D&AD actively promote platforms for underrepresented groups through their New Blood Awards and also host the RARE Masterclass programme which focuses on the lack of gender and ethnic diversity in the creative industry. AKQA was an official partner in 2018 for D&AD RARE.
  • The Dots champion diversity. A professional networking platform with over 380,000 members: 68% of The Dots community are female, 31% are BAME, and 16% are LGBT+. In 2018 The Dots also launched a focus on Socioeconomic diversity and neurodiversity.
Family friendly benefits
  • AKQA offers industry-leading benefits for new parents. Specifically, we have enhanced maternity pay, giving working mothers employed for more than five years the opportunity to have up to six months to care for newborns and adopted children on full pay, with an optional three months at 50% of salary.
  • Additionally, AKQA matched shared parental leave with enhanced maternity leave. Operating as a tiered benefit available to all employees after six months of service, it enables both parents to share child-care responsibilities, spend time with family and progress their careers. This parental leave improves women’s career opportunities by making it easier for partners to play a bigger role in childcare, sharing responsibility for raising children.
  • Our flexible working policy has been in place since 2014. Currently, 15% of the studio have formal flexible working patterns.
Learning and development
  • We have put in place 16 learning and development programmes – most notably the AKQA Progression Programme. Aimed at the next generation of senior leaders, this year-long initiative promotes and encourages leadership potential. Women represented eight of the ten attendees in 2018. The Progression Programme provides the necessary encouragement, support and training to ensure our future AKQA leaders are equipped for success.
  • Over 2018, employees attended one-to-one coaching sessions; workshops, including Hiring Without Bias; conferences and events.

Making further progress

The actions and initiatives that will help us to inspire and make further progress include:

Attracting talent

Inclusive interview process

We mandated unconscious bias training to all our hiring managers.

Gender-neutral job descriptions

We use the augmented writing platform Textio to ensure that all AKQA job descriptions are gender-neutral and attract diverse talent.

Diversity, fair pay and benefits

Equal pay

Employers are under a legal obligation to provide equal pay. Twice a year, we have a formal and rigorous process to review pay to ensure that men and women with the same experience and performance in equivalent roles are paid equally and accurately. We also carry out benchmarking comparisons with other WPP UK Companies.

  • Equal pay means men and women who perform equal or similar work must receive equal pay.
  • The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the average earnings of men and women across an organisation.
Family friendly policies
  • In January 2018, we launched enhanced maternity pay and matched it to our shared parental leave, to an industry-leading level.
  • We have introduced Babylon Health for all employees with the option to extend the GP on demand platform to their family, offering unlimited face to face GP consultations on your phone.
Flexible working
  • Our flexible working policy has been in place since 2014. Currently, 15% of the studio have formal flexible working patterns.
Diversity and inclusion council
  • Throughout 2018 the AKQA Diversity and Inclusion Council ensured that equality and inclusion topics were continuously explored across the studio, including throughout National Inclusion Week, World Mental Health Day, and International Women’s Day.

Awareness, training and development

Recruitment training
  • We run training for our hiring managers, which is aimed at identifying and avoiding unconscious bias throughout the hiring lifecycle: from reviewing CVs through to assessment and selection.
  • Our continued training programme has helped employees identify how they can build a more diverse and inclusive workplace by gaining awareness of their own internal biases; how these can influence decision-making; and what inclusive behaviours look like.
Realtime pulse and annual employee survey
  • Annually, AKQA runs an Employee Survey to hear feedback from our team, measuring a number of key performance indicators.
  • AKQA employees have access to an ongoing anonymous feedback system called Officevibe which allows us to continuously listen and respond to employee needs and highlight areas for improvement. Wellbeing, engagement and equality information are measured and shared with the teams, with the data being used to inform the people strategy in the studio.

Looking ahead

The Government’s Gender Pay Gap regulations are a welcome and important step towards encouraging the transparency and measurement we support. We are committed to initiatives that improve how we attract, engage and advance women, as well as other under-represented groups.

We continuously monitor our UK team’s gender and diversity data. We review new hires, promotions and leavers, together with performance ratings and succession plans across departments and disciplines. This helps us to identify any barriers such as unconscious bias, provide education to line managers, and take action.

We have made progress in the last twelve months and aim to continue to make year-on-year improvements through our initiatives and concentrating on equal gender representation.

Diversity brings many benefits, knowing it is vital to our ability to be an employer of choice, to provide meaningful careers for our people and ensure our clients have the best solutions. We are committed to fostering a varied and inclusive work environment, aspiring to provide our employees with the canvas, tools and confidence to help advance their careers, and will continue to make progress towards this goal.

I confirm that the information in this report is accurate and prepared in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017.

Ron Peterson signature

Ron Peterson

Managing Director, London