Despite a lot of talk about making advertising a more inclusive, tolerant and user-friendly workplace, this year’s All In survey from the Advertising Association paints a picture of a stressed out, underpaid, monoculture workforce where 20% are plotting to leave.
If you’re looking for good news, a general sense of belonging is up 2% to 71% and encounters with negative behaviour are down 1% to 15%. A full 97% report a lack of discrimination, but it’s unclear whether those respondents are representative enough to give a proper answer here. Especially as three in ten Black people said they were likely to leave the industry due to discrimination and lack of inclusion.
In the 55-64 age bracket, 12% of respondents said they have felt personally discriminated against due to their age – more than twice the industry average. There can’t have been many respondents in this under-represented group, and most of those that are in a position to respond are likely to be the company leaders who are responsible for the culture in the first place.
A third of the 19,000 respondents suffered stress or anxiety, and would like to spend less days working in the office (ideally 1.9 days). One in five said they were likely to leave their company in the next 12 months, in search of better opportunities, better salaries and a better work-life balance.
The Great Pitch Poll recently found that agencies are paying less attention to mental health: only 20% of respondents said that their organisation had made “great strides” with wellbeing, compared with 31% last year and 50% in 2021.
Consultancy Creative Equals says that many agencies are reducing their DE&I budgets, with one big holding company cutting it out completely. This doesn’t bode well for rectifying these issues and creating a more modern, inclusive industry that can flourish and do the job that clients are paying it for.
At least the gender pay gap is slowly shrinking (although still at 11.9%) and women’s representation at senior levels is growing. Tom Knox set the industry to work on gender and ethnicity goals when he was IPA president back in 2016, so perhaps we need to be more patient. Assuming that time is not running out.