“Impact Study” Reveals Insufficient Diversity Efforts in Advertising

First industry wide survey of ad industry perceptions and experiences

Carol Watson

Tangerine Watson Inc, a consultancy firm specializing in Black, Hispanic and Asian advertising, marketing and media talent recently revealed findings from The Impact Study 2011. The Impact Study is the first industry-wide research snapshot contrasting the perceptions and perspectives of multicultural and white advertising professionals. Additionally, over 800 respondents surveyed ranked agencies that were excelling in identifying, promoting and supporting diverse talent.

Prior to the survey, those interested in understanding and fixing the challenges of diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry had very little information surrounding the lack of diversity at the mid to senior levels. While numerous well-meaning programs, initiatives and training plans were created to increase the level of diversity in the industry, there was never a concerted effort to solicit responses and feedback from people currently working in the industry and of those who had left. The Impact Study was launched to identify trends in the experiences of diverse professionals in the industry, areas of successes and weaknesses in relation to career development, employee satisfaction and levels of access.

Key findings from The Impact Study revealed:

– 74% of multicultural respondents agree that their experiences as employees are different from their white colleagues due to their backgrounds.
– While access to key decision makers and mentors/sponsors is an important factor for all professionals, multicultural employees are much less likely to feel satisfied with their level of access.
– Most respondents (89%), regardless of ethnicity, feel that diversity in the industry needs improvement.
– African-Americans (33%), Hispanics (21%) and other ethnic groups (47%) are more likely to cite lack of racial and ethnic diversity as a very important reason for leaving the industry than whites (4%).

Respondent answers were collected from September 13, 2011 through December 31, 2011. The research spans all geographical regions, agency sizes, job functions, seniority levels, as well as both general market and multicultural agencies. Respondent outreach efforts included a variety of channels including: AdAge, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, AAF, AHAA, AdClub, AdColor, 4As MAIP Alumni MMR, Marcus Graham, Tangerine Watson, Inc. multicultural candidate database and various advertising industry conferences, newsletters and events.

The Impact Study offers an objective baseline to build upon current initiatives moving forward and tangible employee values for each agency to establish their own competitive edge in the market. The agencies that rose to the top of the lists are those with leadership that treats inclusion as a deliberate and conscious intention. To receive highlights of the Impact Study contact Carol@tangerine-watson.com.


Categories: Diversity


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