Marketing still needs to do more in diversity stakes says WFA

Marketing scores better than other industries when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion according to a new survey by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and Kantar. So that’s all right then?

Not quite. Even though marketing scored an overall 64% on Kantaqr’s Inclusion Index, ahead of the next highest sector, Health and Pharmaceuticals on 60%, problems remain.

The most common forms of discrimination identified by the survey globally were family status and age, with 27% agreeing that their company does not treat all employees fairly regardless of family status and 27% agreeing that their company does not treat all employees equally regardless of age. Thirty-six per cent of respondents agreed that age can hinder one’s career while 40% of women agreed that family status can hinder one’s career.

There is also strong evidence of a gender pay gap in some markets. In the US and Canada, for example, the gap is worst among industry starters with a 13% gap in the US and a 20% gap in Canada.

There were similar findings for ethnic minorities, who score lower on key questions such as “feel like I belong at my company” than ethnic majority groups in nearly all markets. In the US, 17% say they have faced discrimination based on their racial background. In a number of markets this is also reflected by a pay gap. However, in many markets surveyed, ethnic minorities or foreign nationals reported being paid more than the ethnic majority.

17 per cent of respondents said they were likely to leave their current company of as a result of the lack of inclusion and/or discrimination they had experienced. Fifteen per cent said they would leave the industry. The Netherlands was the best performing country on this issue, with 9% saying they would find new employment within the industry.

The results are based on more than 10,000 responses from 27 markets around the world conducted in June to July 2021 with the online survey identifying not just the demographics of participants but also their sense of belonging, experience of discrimination and demeaning behaviour.

WFA diversity ambassador and GSK senior media director Jerry Daykin says:“Whilst there are some positive takeaways the research does highlight that for many individuals the marketing industry is not as inclusive nor as welcoming a place as we know it needs to be. Through some of our wider work with the WFA we’ve been exploring the power of representative creative output and we know that that starts by listening to representative voices and having diverse opinions from our teams.

“This first in-depth survey to look at both the diversity of our global industry and also how included people feel within it is a critical step towards moving us forwards – of course what we now need is continued & greater action to ensure the results are stronger when we next see them.”

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