ipa 2018 diversity report

Carl Brady, Director


“Earlier this week the IPA released its 2018 version of their diversity report. While each report is important to demonstrate the (hopeful) increase in both gender and racial diversity in our industry, this year’s report has added significance. 2020 is now within sniffing distance. This is the deadline the IPA challenged adland with, to reach their ambitious targets regarding both diverse representation in agency ‘leadership roles’, and in the make-up of new starters attracted to our industry. With around only 700 days to achieve these targets, the latest report suggests the goals set by the IPA simply won’t be reached. Although the gender and ethnicity balance continues to improve across the industry as a whole, in reality, only marginal gains are being made.


Regarding both race and sex bias, positive moves are being made and increases in representation are improving. Across all employees, the BAME % increased from 12.9% to 13.8% in 2018 and the gender balance now sits at 51% in favour of female staff. Despite this, the struggle remains the same. There is still a need to improve the proportion of women and BAME background individuals in senior roles across the industry. Worryingly less than 33% of C-suite roles (CEO COO etc) are held by women. Even more shocking is that only 5.5% of C-suite roles are held by those from a BAME background. Sadly, these stats only reinforce the findings published by the Advertising Diversity Taskforce last year when they revealed that adland is still predominantly led by privately educated white men – with 31% of senior leaders privately educated and just 8% from BAME backgrounds.


Several years ago, here at Republic of Media we committed to trying to achieve the IPA’s diversity targets. Although our success in this area represents a mixed bag, as an agency we have been fortunate enough to attract talent at all levels from vastly diverse and varied backgrounds. As one of the UK’s fastest growing agencies, we have positively identified this as a key reason for our continued growth and ability to prosper.


As we rapidly head towards 2020 one hugely positive step is that the diversity survey is to become compulsory as part of IPA membership. Not only will this guarantee the composition of a truer picture across adland, but it will also prevent a decrease in survey participation. Remarkably the most recent results were based on 70.8% completion rate – down 15% yoy. In my view this is probably the most disappointing fact about the most recent survey. If the industry doesn’t see its true reflection, how can we ever hope to champion diversity, reach and one day possibly exceed, the IPA’s goals”


If would like to read the full breakdown of the report, please click the link here.