Guerillascope’s co-founder and CEO, David Yorath, joined an esteemed panel at Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising event to discuss what needs to be done by the industry to drive greater representation.
Chaired by Maria St Louis and featuring a keynote speech from Karen Blackett, the event shone a spotlight on we as an industry currently call home. With 1 in 3 of the workforce coming from a private education background – despite the national figure being at 1 in 14 – the challenge of widening the scope of recruitment is clear.
The path to opportunity is of equal concern, however, with just 32.7% of C-suite positions at all agencies currently held by women, despite over 50% of the total workforce being female. More sobering still is the shocking stat of 8% in relation to agency leaders who come from a BAME background.
And we haven’t even mentioned people with a disability – 19% of the population, to be exact. Though great strides are being made in this field, entirely capable workers are still 2.5x less likely to find employment if they have a physical or mental impairment. Creating an inclusive culture based on equal opportunity is crucial – and it must start from the top down.
A more diverse advertising industry will profoundly benefit the advertisers and agencies that keep it ticking. Different ideas, perspectives and experiences will enrich and energise companies, boosting the quality of work and making us think in ways that cut through to all of the population, not merely portions of it.
But with 61% of people from minorities – and 79% of the black community – admitting to ‘covering’ in order to fit in, it’s abundantly clear that there is currently a systemic issue in the industry that stifles diversity and forces people to conform to expected, old-school standards of what is and isn’t acceptable. This must change.
And it will, if we all recognise the part we have to play in promoting ways of thinking and behaving that correlate with modern life.