May 21, 2022

Digital Marketing Education

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Ad industry pay and opportunities are far from fair, report shows


Across the board, women are less likely to feel included than men—61% versus 69%, respectively. Also, 40% of women suggest that a person’s family status can hinder the advancement of their career.

Of the more than two dozen worldwide markets whose populations participated in this survey, major gaps are apparent in how employees perceive their companies’ commitments to inclusion goals.

For example, 83% of American marketers agreed that their organization is taking active steps towards being more diverse and inclusive—the highest score in the world, two percentage points ahead of Canada; that stands in stark contrast to the 26% of employees who said the same in the worst-performing market on this scale, which the report does not divulge.

A majority of respondents, 60%, feel that their company is actively taking steps to become more diverse and inclusive, though in 15 of the 21 markets where ethnicity was factored into the study, minorities are not as keen to believe in that progress compared to their ethnic majority counterparts. In the U.S., 73% of BIPOC marketers shared the same positive sentiment about their companies’ diversity efforts, versus 87% of white employees.

Intersectionality also appears to play a major role in who feels the most welcome in advertising and who does not. “The people who report the lowest sense of belonging tend to be people, particularly women, with disabilities and from an ethnic minority,” the report reads.

Inclusion scores

The study isn’t all doom and gloom for the industry. Relative to other industries, marketing’s overall “inclusion score,” as judged by Kantar’s 2019 Inclusion Index, is fairly high at 64%; many other sectors are worse off, including financial services with a score of 53%, and technology and telecom with a dismal 35%.

The WFA’s research that formed the basis of its new “Global DEI Census” report was conducted this summer among more than 10,000 marketers across varying levels of seniority at ad agencies, media companies and brands, with the survey available in-language to participants in 27 countries including the U.S., South Africa, Pakistan and Greece.

Citing “magnified inequalities” that have arisen during COVID-19, the WFA added that it plans to re-run this survey in the spring of 2023. The comprehensive 2021 report is now available on the group’s website.



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