Lack of momentum stalls the race for inclusion

Carl Brady, Director


The IPA released the most recent edition of their census earlier this week, and while each report is important to validate the steps our industry is taking to increase cultural and gender diversity, this report was of particular interest to me. 2020 was pinpointed as the year where all the industry’s efforts to combat its out-dated level of inclusion, would finally be realised. ( Unfortunately, whilst the IPA should be commended for putting in place these ambitious targets, the most recent results confirm what I already suspected. Adland is still woefully behind where it should be, especially regarding BAME representation.


The most recent census sadly shows that within agencies, at the highest level of seniority, instead of taking steps forwards, the proportion of staff from black, Asian and minority-ethnic backgrounds is actually now lower than before. Furthermore, the industry is showing little sign of gaining the required momentum to remedy this any time soon.


When we start to dissect the results of the census, despite the efforts of the industry, and while minorities continue to find themselves marginalised, its far from all bad news. Changes are definitely happening, but they are happening far too slowly. Some examples of these changes include;
• CEOs, MD’s and Chairpeople from a BAME background rose from 2.9% to 4.1%.
• However, in 2018 5.5% of C-suite execs came from a BAME background. The latest results show this has now dropped back to 4.7%.
• At Department Head level, BAME representation has dropped down from 9.4% to 7.9%.
• Media agencies fair better than creatives in terms of ethnic diversity, with 15.8% of staff being from a BAME background. (12.3% in Creative agencies). If we look at this in greater detail BAME representation is higher at all levels in media agencies, but particularly so at a senior level.


My personal view is that these goals were idealistic and ambitious at best. They were simply not realistic in the given time frame. Progression is being made and I’m sure the industry will eventually succeed in its goals regarding both BAME representation and gender diversity. For now though, the clear message from this recent census is that we all must try harder. At Republic of Media we firmly believe that our philosophy on diversity, inclusion and the power of individuality, has been integral in our growth, development and ongoing success. We look forward to doing everything we can to support the IPA and its ambition to really deliver on diversity.


The article regarding the census can be found here