January 14, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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The U.S. marketing industry is getting more diverse: ANA report


Among employees at ANA board and select member companies—a group of roughly 16,500 individuals—non-Hispanic white is the single largest ethnic demographic; 69.2% of marketers fall into this category, which is an outsized number compared to the roughly 57% of Americans who identify as white, according to U.S. Census data.

Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, and those in the ANA’s “Other” category are the only additional groups that have larger representation in the marketing industry than in the country as a whole.

At the other end of the spectrum, the report found that Hispanic, Black, Indigenous and multiracial individuals remain systemically underrepresented in the industry.

As of 2021, Hispanic and Latino marketers make up just 8.9% of all advertising employees despite their 18.7% share of the entire U.S. population. Black Americans in the industry face a similar disparity, equaling 6.6% of the workforce at ANA member companies despite their 12.1% share of the population.

This was the first year that the ANA’s report has listed “American Indian/Alaskan Native” and “Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander” as separate categories.

“While we still have a long way to go, I am confident that if we come together—advertisers, agencies, news organizations, NGOs—through conscious and sustained efforts, we can effect real change in the industry,” Alicia Enciso, CMO of Nestle USA and vice chairman of the AIMM’s board of directors, said in a letter at the beginning of the report.

Gender equity across the advertising industry is faring slightly better, if not a little bit lopsided. The ANA’s report found that across the group’s entire membership base, 67.1% of marketers are women; comprehensive gender statistics broken down by employment seniority level were not available.

That number has held steady in recent years, with between 62% and 64% of marketers self-identifying as female each year since 2018 that the ANA has conducted this study. And while women hold the majority across every professional level, it’s far from uniform; 54.8% of senior-level marketers are women, versus 70.8% of individuals in entry-level roles.

Non-binary or gender non-conforming respondents currently make up between 0.1% and 0.3% of all employment levels in the marketing industry.

In addition to self-identification questions, respondents in the ANA board of directors and member companies category were asked, “Are there any key action steps that have helped your company improve diversity within the marketing department?”  Strategic framework for diversity and inclusion initiatives, talent recruitment and retention, external engagement, and multicultural marketing were some of the broad areas people cited as needing to be addressed.

The same group was also asked if their employees have the opportunity to self-identify as LGBTQ+ or as a person with a disability, with 56% and 79% reporting that they offer such an option, respectively.



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