IPA aims for more racial diversity as it revamps its graduate scheme

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is introducing a new three-year programme to improve diversity within the advertising industry as it targets a rate of 1 in 3 graduate placements being black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) among its 300 plus member organisations.

Group of Multiethnic Busy People Working in an Office

The AdMission programme has already been running for three years but has been completely revamped with a new website – which acts as a jobs portal – now updated to contain more diverse content and blogs to entice graduates into advertising.

As part of the changes, the IPA will host events on campus to reposition the ad industry for the digital generation. It has also partnered with recruitment specialists Step and SEO in its bid to specifically engage with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and BAME students.

There will also be an AdMission internship programme to offer penultimate year and final year students 10-12 week placements, with an aim to place over 50 STEM and BAME students in its first year.

“Diversity is good for business as different people bring different skills and different thinking to the table,” says Janet Hull OBE, IPA director of marketing Strategy.

“Through our comprehensive programme, we hope to attract graduates from a wider range of backgrounds and disciplines to up-skill the industry and achieve better cross-cultural representation in every part of the business.”

In 2014 there were 3,015 BAME employees in IPA member agencies, accounting for 13% of the total employment base. This was up from 11.2% in 2013 and 8.2% in 2008.

Hull says the IPA wants to improve this even further. She adds: “If we achieve 50 internships in the first year we would like to double this number to 100 in year 2 and 150 in year 3 and there is no reason why we should not get even higher once we have got a profile and a programme up to speed.”

A challenge

Attracting more diverse candidates remains an issue within the creative industries.

New research, commissioned by MOBO and the Creative Industries Foundation, found that the number of people from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds employed in the creative industries increased by 12.5% between 2013 and 2014. Some 11% of jobs in the industry are held by BAME people, similar to the general working population of the UK.

However, the report found that the creative industries are failing to reflect the communities they serve. Some 32% of all jobs in the sector are in London, where 40% of the workforce is BAME.

That means that across the UK 17.8% of the creative industries workforce should be BAME.

The creative industries are also falling behind in terms of employing women. While 41.9% of those working in advertising are women, this number drops to 25% at senior management levels.

The issue of diversity in marketing will be a prominent topic at this year’s Festival of Marketing. For more information go to www.festivalofmarketing.com.

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