In this year’s School Reports, Campaign have paid particular attention to diversity figures, asking agencies for the first time to include the percentage of their 2019 entry-level intake who are from a BAME background. The findings were (perhaps unsurprisingly) mixed.
Two agencies (Amplify and BBD Perfect Storm) topped the table of results with BAME recruits making up 100% of their total entry-level intake. It is worth mentioning that both of these agencies recruited just two people at this level, but both sets of hires were through initiatives put in place for the purpose of attracting talent from less-traditional and underrepresented backgrounds.
At the other end of the scale, 32 agencies put themselves in danger of detention by failing to provide this information at all. Some did not collect this data, while others didn’t provide a reason for the omission. This has not gone unnoticed by Creative Equals, an organisation that aims to create inclusive working cultures, who ask “Why aren’t agencies collecting the data? Or willing to share it? What are they afraid of? Is it because they know their numbers are just embarrassingly low?”.
Aside from not having to answer some of those more pointed questions, what is the benefit to agencies of reporting on the diversity of their more junior cohort? Well, as also pointed out by Creative Equals, with ethnicity pay-gap reporting on the horizon the sector should take the opportunity to get ahead of the issue, which starts with knowing the full picture in terms of your workforce diversity profile.
The good news is the report shows that work is definitely underway in increasing BAME diversity at the junior end, with the figure of BAME recruits at entry-level exceeding that of the number of BAME permanent staff (28.6% to 15.8%). However, as we all know, recruitment is just the start, and agencies need to rise to the challenge of ensuring their working environments retain these recruits and enable them to thrive.
The key message from the report: the work has begun, but there’s more to be done.
This year, Campaign delved even further into the School Reports agencies' diversity figures. While the findings were mixed, the clear message continued to be that, while there is some progress, adland can and must do better.