All In doubles down Black, disabled, and working class talent

The Advertising Association, the IPA and ISBA’s drive to improve diversity in the ad industry, All In, has announced three new actions in response to its latest census, which took in the views of a record 19,000 respondents.

For Black talent, there is a new sponsorship programme and a call for companies to showcase how they are attracting and retaining non-white staff. The 2023 census showed that just 2% of Black respondents were in c-suite positions, and 31% felt undervalued compared to colleagues of equal competence.

Ete Davies

Ete Davies, chair of the Black Talent Working Group and COO at Dentsu Creative, EMEA & UK said: “The latest All In Census highlighted that the work and career environment for Black talent is still comparatively negative, resulting in poor retention and impairing progression – factors which are key to ensuring long-term sustainable inclusion and representation. Sponsorship is an evidenced central strategy to counteracting the systemic and cultural biases and inequities that exist in organisations which impair the progression and mitigate the attrition of Black professionals.”

Disability is addressed by suggesting that agencies ask individual staff and visitors directly about their accessibility needs. Again, the census showed that people are afraid that admitting a disability will harm their career development, with 39% admitting that their company was unaware of their health condition.

On social mobility, there’s a new Early Careers Social Mobility toolkit which companies are invited to use as part of a serious assessment of how they are developing their working class talent, right from the start. Only 20% of agency people come from working class backgrounds, compared to the national average of 40%.

Kathryn Jacob, chair of the Inclusion Working Group and CEO of Pearl & Dean, said: “The 2023 All In Census results highlighted that the All In Action Plan is still just as important today as when we launched it in 2021. Progress has been made, but there is still more work to be done. The road to inclusion is complex and ever-evolving, and that is reflected in the updates to the All In Action Plan. Our objective is to continue to promote, encourage, and advocate for better representation, inclusion, and equity in UK advertising’s workforce”.

Not that industry issues around ageism, mental health, gender, Asian and LGBTQ talent have gone away – but they are not the focus this year.


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