New MLS influencer research reveals 35 percent pay gap between races – WWD
When a white influential people paid 135 dollars, black influential people, on average, is paid $100. And sometimes less.
For those paying attention, racial pay disparities are not a novelty — nor is the conversation about income disparities among influencers based on race. But now that influencer marketing firm MSL has quantified the problem in new findings as a 35 percent overwhelming pay gap, the “large magnitude” of the problem, according to the agency, should act as A wake-up call for fashion and beauty.
“The number was bigger than we expected,” MSL US CEO Diana Littman told WWD, explaining the study results released Monday. “If you look at benchmarks among other industries, this is even worse.”
For comparison’s sake, the study, titled “Time to Face the Pay Gap for Influencers,” drew on Bureau of Labor Statistics data to show that the pay gap between black and black employees white in business and finance is 16%; in media, sport and entertainment, it is also 16%, and in education, it is 8%. Even the national average wage gap between black and white workers across industries is lower than the gap between influencers, at 25%.
And in the face of systemic reality and other ratios that are not in their favor, what begins as an uneven playing field for influential people of color can, according to the report, become “a gap.” uncontrollable opportunity”.
“We want this to be a wake-up call in the industry. This is not just an incentive for us to do differently and for our customers to do differently,” said Littman. “[This] can help create change and make people aware of things systematically in the industry that are having a negative impact on these diverse influencers.”
Currently, of the 412 US influencers surveyed in the MSL study (led by the company’s chief strategy officer Shreya Mukherjee and influencer strategist D’Anthony Jackson and partnered with influencer and The Influencer League founder Brittany Bright), white influencers earn about $67,032 in annual income, compared with the Black influencer average of $43,756. Looking at the full spectrum of influencers who identify as black, earnings rise slightly to $47,509, which puts it at a particular disadvantage for Black creators.
Seventy-seven percent of Black influencers fall into the microinfluencer tier (with fewer than 50,000 followers) where the median income is under $28,000, compared with 59 percent of white influencers that fit in the tier. this. In the microinfluencer category, half of Black creators fall into the lowest income quintile ($0 to $10,000) compared with just 27% of white creators. When it comes to macroinfluencers, or those with more than 50,000 followers, only 23% of Black influencers count themselves in this category with an average income of almost $109,000, while 41% of influencers Caucasian influence of the macro type.
According to Bright – stories about undervaluing Black female influencers in particular, along with leading The Influencer League in its mission to educate influencers about the industry and help them “make money successful” proficient” – is too much to count.
But one thing in particular stands out.
“[I was] worked with an influential black woman and we were negotiating for a brand campaign and she told me she knew about this white woman who had been running this campaign for a while. years ago her and what she was able to secure, about $30,000 for the campaign,” Bright said. “They contacted her in 2021 to do the same campaign, same item, but they only offered her $9,000.”
After back-and-forth offers and negotiations, that influencer was finally able to get her bid up to $20,000 for a campaign under Bright’s management and with some transparent payments. for the campaign she won’t have. But it’s a staggering gap that must be bridged when it comes to seeing how her credential is comparable to her white counterpart.
“I know year after year, whether you’re running the same type of campaign or not, budgets change, things change but when it’s the same brand, through the same platform – because they are using an influencer platform – and you have the same item, why does the price differ so much? ‘ she posed. “That is why we are doing this. That is why this peer-to-peer study is so important.”
Black influencers, like Black employees in the broader workforce, are sometimes classified as low-income because of their low number of followers and because the playing field is already not wide open. in an industry that favors wealth. And the social media algorithms that reward those who have already been rewarded won’t do the colorists backing any favors.
“I think this is an industry where in a way, wealth can be more important than other industries because you are your own boss and you are the driver of your own income, because So you need to have the fertile ground beneath you and the ability to make this leap into space,” explains Littman. “For me, there are so many advantages that you can have if you start out as an influencer, even gear for video production, friends and family in the legal field have can help you think about signing a contract, so I think being deprived can be a huge loss for people.”
But how to combat a global and systemic problem?
Littman debunked the emerging chorus that the influencer is over; otherwise, they will most likely evolve into the metaverse like with everything else. So it’s about setting some standards and bringing some salary transparency into the space.
MSL has committed, among other things, to develop an Influencer Pay Index that will track all influencer payouts through the Fluency platform with the aim of becoming “the benchmark for industry principles”.
“It will allow us to have very transparent conversations with both clients and influencers,” says Littman. “We’re going to publish our data and do it on a regular basis so there’s transparency there.”
Brands, working to back up their social impact statements and Black Lives Matter hashtag posts, will also have to be fairer – and those who don’t will eventually be exposed show for that.
“I think the next step and what we need to see is how brands are actually entering the conversation intelligently and creating truly meaningful relationships with their loyalists. , with audiences and potential audiences and even part-time audiences,” says Littman.
Bright believes it’s an important way to bring some financial equity in the influencer space.
“We have publications like Business Insider that are constantly sharing updates on what creators are getting paid on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, but the last aspect is the branding aspect — how transparent are they? when sharing what are they paying creators?” she speaks. “And then, in addition, are they being as flexible as possible with their budget and the parameters they set? I know different agencies and platforms have different ways of valuing their influencers but having that transparency on their side is a lot more beneficial for other creators as well. There is a standard pay scale across the industry. “
Can these goals be achieved in an industry that is the microcosm of a global industry filled with brands that still do not offer transparency and gender pay equality? That remains to be seen, though Bright could prove beneficial for those who can’t let their old habits die off.
“It’s going to be really tough to get a lot of agencies involved when they’re trying to drive that ROI, but I think that’s the bottom line: if they value their creators, if they value relationships relationship they have with creators, and they’re spending more time, effort, and resources finding and paying for the right creators, they’ll see that ROI regardless – and a good ROI at there,” she said.
Sure, it’s a multi-step process that goes beyond simply publishing pay rates. It’s also about eliminating inequalities in how the industry values people and their contributions. As the report noted, “in the young and unregulated influencer industry, those inequalities are amplified to a large extent.”
“There needs to be a whole system behind this change,” says Littman.
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