ANA: Marketing industry still struggling with diversity efforts
- Marketers continue to struggle with recruiting and retaining racially diverse talent, because of a disconnect in the resources they invest in diversity initiatives and the lack of inclusiveness that diverse workers feel, according to findings of a new report by the Association of National Advertisers Educational Foundation (AEF) shared with Marketing Dive.
- For the study, a group of racially diverse students and new hires were interviewed and revealed four areas that affected their breaking into the industry and staying in the business, including management disconnect, microaggressions, cultural illiteracy and difficulty having conversations around diversity. Underrepresented populations in the industry, which the report focused on, include African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
- The report recommends marketers can better attract and retain diverse talent by following guidelines in the ANA's Talent Forward Alliance, created in 2018 to help the marketing industry grow by developing top talent. The alliance is also creating an inclusiveness index to measure the level of inclusiveness at marketing agencies.
While the marketing industry has created initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, the ANA's new AEF report suggests that the industry focused "too narrowly" on numbers and scorecards, and has a lot of work to do to attract more diverse teams. Now, marketers are urged to rethink their approach to diversity so that they can recruit and retain top talent from underrepresented populations.
Marketing leaders should take note of the areas which the new hires and students cited as barriers to breaking into and being successful in the industry, and work to mend the disconnect. Focusing on inclusivity is key for the marketing industry's growth as it looks to attract the next generation. Gen Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, and promoting inclusivity suggests to the new generation that their voices truly matter within the industry, that they belong and their talent is needed, the report suggests.
The industry also has a ways to go when it comes to the diversity of leadership. Only 13% of CMOs or CMO equivalents are people color: 5% are Hispanic/Latin, 5% are Asian and 3% are black, according to a separate ANA report. However, in a sign of progress, 45% top marketing positions at ANA client-side member organizations are now held by women.
The ANA has also created several initiates aimed at helping marketers be more inclusive and sensitive in representing women and minorities — not just in their offices, but in their campaigns, including #SeeHer and the Alliance for Multicultural Marketing. Major advertisers, like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, have created their own initiatives to remove outdated stereotypes from their marketing efforts.