adland pledges to take action against black, disabled and working-class talent
The results of the advertising industry’s first “All In Census” are in and show that urgent improvements are needed to boost the representation of black, disabled and working-class talent.
The landmark survey of over 16,000 professionals, representing just under 20% of the UK advertising population, was conducted by Kantar on March 10 on behalf of the industry’s Inclusion Task Force, made up of the Advertising Association, ISBA, IPA and other leading organizations.
This is the first time that individuals from all parts of the industry from brands, media owners and agencies have been interviewed on this scale.
The findings, particularly around black, disabled and working-class representation, require an immediate “action plan” for the industry to make changes, said Kathryn Jacob, chair of the work group on inclusion.
The aggregate figures showed that 58.7% of respondents were female, more than the UK working population at 47.8%, 9.2% had a disability, well below the 20% of the UK working population, and 9.2% 6% said they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or of another sexual orientation – three times as many as in the wider UK population (3%).
Ethnic minorities make up 16% of the UK advertising workforce, compared to 12% of the UK working population, and this level rises to 24% of 18-24 year olds. The ethnic mix was as follows: 6.7% Asian, 3.5% Black, 5.1% Mixed/Multiple, 0.8% Other, and 83.9% White. This was broadly consistent with the general population.
Most respondents were aged 25-34 (44.3%), followed by those aged 35-44 (29.1%). Next come the 45 to 54 year olds (15%), then the 18 to 24 year olds (7.1%), the 55 to 64 year olds (4.2%) and the over 65s (0.3%).
Of all respondents, 83% believed their company was actively taking steps to be more inclusive. However, mental health was an issue across the workforce – 31% said they were stressed or anxious. The numbers were higher among women (36%), 25-34 year olds (38%), LGBTQ+ (45%) and people with disabilities (51%).
After evaluating the data, the Inclusion Task Force identified three areas it wants the industry to tackle first: improving the representation of black, disabled and working-class talent.
Jacob said, “Now is the time to act. Our census results have provided the baseline data we need and the way forward is clear. We urge all companies in our industry to commit to the All In Action action plan to help make rapid progress in these critical areas.
These three areas are:
1 black talent
The All In Census shows that only 1% of black talent is in leadership positions; in the UK population as a whole, it is 3%. To improve black representation, the action plan urges people to download and adopt the nascent BRiM framework.
2 disabled talents
Not only is talent with disabilities underrepresented, but the census also found that people in this group were more likely to leave their organization (22% vs. the industry average of 9%). To help, the action plan urges the immediate auditing of company websites to ensure full online accessibility.
3. Working class talent
People whose parents have vocational training are significantly overrepresented in industry (63% against a national average of 37%). Additionally, 20% of advertising professionals in the UK have attended fee-based schools, compared to a national average of 7%. The report encourages industry to implement the Commission’s Social Mobility Toolkit for Creative Industries, which will be launched later this month.
Sharon Lloyd Barnes, Commercial Director and Head of Inclusion at the Advertising Association, was keen to point out that although these are the first areas to be covered, the Inclusion Task Force is in contact with experts to create actions for other marginalized groups by the end of the year. .
Jacob, who is also managing director of Pearl & Dean, said: “It’s like a movie franchise. This is our first release, but we have more to come.
The approach envisioned is to ensure that the group leads systemic and long-term change, rather than opting for easy wins.
“We want to suggest credible actions that will truly lead to change,” Jacob added.
Although the industry has made progress in improving its diverse workforce pool, Lloyd Barnes said Adland needed to get its house in order so that these new hires are properly valued and supported to rise to the top. .
“We need to recruit, support and promote talent at every stage,” she explained.
To promote rapid action, the group has implemented a procedure for any company wishing to publicly declare that it is All In Company. They will be asked to provide proof that they have implemented the three actions, in exchange for documents that can be used in company references.
All In’s work has attracted the attention of the global advertising community as well as other business sectors in the UK.
The World Federation of Advertisers, supported by Countryside and Kantar, will launch an adapted version of the All In Census in 27 countries later this month – the first global diversity survey of its kind.
Meanwhile, the inclusion task force has also been approached by people working in other industries about how they could implement the same type of program.
A human-sized approach
All of these changes are important for retaining talented people and sustaining the industry by attracting new faces. “If we want people to stay in our industry, it has to become more human rather than commercial,” Jacobs said.
“We are now in a global fight for talent. People are our greatest asset. We need to start treating them like that, rather than having a system that crushes you like a pancake, so you’re all like cookie cutters,” she added.
Lloyd Barnes said this is particularly important after the Covid pandemic: “The experience we have all just had has made us more aware of our colleagues in a more human way, understanding what they face in their home environment”.
Jacobs said: “We need to create a more inclusive workplace. This is the start for us to become an industry in which we would be happy for our children to work.
Caroline Dinenage, the Minister for Culture, hailed the All In Census as it “can help further improve representation in the advertising landscape and build on the work done to date on inclusion in the creative industries”.