The latest IPA figures certainly aren’t cheerful. Only 12% of those working in IPA member agencies are from a black, Asian or minority-ethnic background. And brands aren’t expected to be doing much better.
So when it comes to hiring from a more diverse pool of people, where are we going wrong? And what are the (unintended) consequences of undiverse workplaces?
Tanya Joseph, a consultant, chair of The Pool and architect of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign at Sport England, brand marketer Olivia Gold and Stripes co-founder Ete Davies talk Marketing Week through their own experiences, and provide helpful advice to improve diversity in the workplace.
“The fact there aren’t that many role models in our sector altogether means that when you’re a young person thinking about what you might be doing with your life, if you don’t see people in it that look like you, then you won’t imagine yourself in those positions,” Joseph says.
Gold adds: “You’ve just graduated university, and you’re still trying to figure out where you fit in – but you’re open to new experiences. And then when you [enter the workplace], you find there’s no one like you. So then you’re trying to fit in more than show off your skill set.”
Davies, in particular, believes it isn’t just about hiring new talent. Instead, he says brands and agencies should put a bigger focus on retaining their employees from minority groups.
“Whenever most organisations look at creating a more diverse workforce, the focus is almost always on acquisition. They have people coming into the business from a BAME background, but they don’t have mentors from within the community who are appreciative of the experience that the individual is having within the business or feel supported … and so they tend to drop out,” he explains.