BRUSSELS – An in-depth survey of more than 300 public affairs professionals working in Brussels and around Europe, across industry sectors from agribusiness to transportation, reveals the extent of the gender pay gap among corporate affairs staff.

The European Corporate Affairs Remuneration Report is the first report of its kind from recruitment consultancy Ellwood Atfield. It notes that the number of Brussels lobbyists has increased from 10,000 to 25,000 in the last 20 years, and as demand has increased so has the price of talented senior lobbyists.

But in the most senior roles – head of EMEA and global heads of corporate affairs – the report found women on average earn 7% less than men. For middle management roles – manager, senior manager and director of EU corporate affairs – women on average earned 3.5% less than their male colleagues.

And for heads of EU affairs, the gap is much bigger: analysis of the remuneration of more than people with the role heads of EU affairs found that €147,800 is the average basic salary for men, while for women the average salary is €124,100 – 16% less at this level.

There were also gender differences in who holds the top jobs: men occupy around 70% of the most senior positions (global, EMEA and EU public affairs heads).

Report author Mark Dober, senior director at Ellwood Atfield, said: “The principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957. However, there is a long way to go before this principle is a reality across the EU. In Germany and the UK for instance the situation is much worse than in Belgium. Growing awareness and societal pressure will no doubt diminish the gender gap over time but it will not happen overnight.”

The report shows salaries at all levels of corporate affairs can vary widely. Most global heads of corporate affairs based in the EU (75% of whom are men) earn less than €250,000 as a base gross annual salary, but some earn substantially over €350,000, particularly where they report directly to the CEO in high-paying sectors and financially successful companies.

Almost half of global heads of corporate affairs expect to make more than a 20% annual bonus, and half make an additional 20% or more of their annual salary through stock and share options, with almost one in ten earning 50% or more of their salary in this way. Global heads can earn substantially more in non-EU jurisdictions, notably the U.S., Australia and Switzerland.

Across the board, US companies pay on average 20% more than German companies, 16% more than UK companies but only 5% more than Swiss companies. The report also noted that pharmaceutical and technology companies pay some of the best salaries in Brussels.

Around one third of the heads of EMEA corporate affairs surveyed earn €140,000 – €170,000 as an annual base salary; around a quarter earn €170,000 – €220,000, and a further quarter earn more than €220,000. Around 17% of people with the title head of EU corporate affairs earned more than €200,000. The report also looks at salaries and perks of directors of EU corporate affairs, senior managers of corporate affairs, and corporate affairs managers.

The report includes data from the European Commission’s Transparency Register, showing the top four spenders on EU corporate affairs in 2017 were multinationals with a U.S. heritage: GE, Google, ExxonMobil and Microsoft. German companies Deutsche Bank, BASF, Siemens and Daimler also feature in the top 10, making Germany the second biggest spender on corporate affairs. The only UK company to make the top 20 is BP.

The salary survey also includes a happiness index, which found that, of the 300 people surveyed, 27% said they were very happy in their role, 42% said they were happy, and 20% said they were OK. Only 11% said they were unhappy or very unhappy.

Dober said money was only one element of job satisfaction in this sector: “It is also about having positive colleagues and bosses, work/ life balance, job autonomy, career development opportunities, job security, and possibly even a higher purpose to what you do. European corporate affairs jobs typically tick many of these boxes. So my advice is appreciate the fact that you are working in one of the world’s most interesting professions that should be future proof – neither Artificial Intelligence nor robots are going to replace you any day soon. Indeed, government affairs may be one of the last human jobs standing – can you imagine a society where lobbyists or politicians are replaced with machines?”