Finally! Progress in Increasing Ethnic Diversity in the Advertising/Marketing Industry!

By ANA InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Finally! Progress in Increasing Ethnic Diversity in the Advertising/Marketing Industry!

For the fourth consecutive year, ANA and AIMM (the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing) are releasing "A Diversity Report for the Advertising/Marketing Industry." The report examines both ethnic and gender diversity. Our headline is significant: Finally, there has been progress in increasing ethnic diversity in the advertising/marketing industry!

Three studies help provide an understanding of diversity at ANA member companies (client-side marketers) in 2021:

  1. ANA Board of Directors and Select Member Companies Diversity Benchmark: Gender and ethnic diversity among the U.S.-based marketing departments of 61 ANA member companies, representing 16,514 marketers in total.
  2. ANA Overall Membership: Gender and ethnic diversity of the overall ANA membership, representing 31,790 individuals who provided gender identity and 28,862 who provided ethnic diversity information.
  3. ANA Member CMOs: Gender and ethnic diversity of the CMO/CMO-equivalent at 873 ANA member client-side marketer company members.

Ethnicity
The overall ethnic skew of the marketing/advertising industry continues to improve and is more diverse than ever as noted in two of the studies. Although the two studies yield somewhat different results, the general trends are similar and reinforce the assessment that diversity strategies are beginning to take hold among the client-side marketer community. This chart provides the percentage of marketers who are diverse for each of the studies over the four-year period.

According to the study of the ANA board of directors and select member companies, the client-side marketing community is 69.2 percent White (Non-Hispanic), and therefore 30.8 percent diverse. The diverse segments include Asian at 11.7 percent, Hispanic/Latino at 8.9 percent, and African American/Black at 6.6 percent.

African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino are both under-represented in the marketing/advertising industry compared with their representation in the total U.S. population (12.1 percent for African American/Black and 18.7 percent for Hispanic/Latino).

Among the senior level -- defined as "The highest level within the marketing team, likely 5-10 percent of total" -- ethnic diversity is 28.5 percent, the highest in the four-year study period. The entry level is also more diverse than ever at 33.1 percent.

Gender
All the studies point to continued strong representation by females. Approximately two-thirds of ANA members are female with females occupying more than half of senior level positions, including CMOs. This chart provides the percentage of marketers who are female per each of the studies.

Interestingly, the gender of entry-level professionals is more female than ever at 70.8 percent.

Perspective
Despite the recent progress, there is still work to be done. While the report of the ANA board of directors and select member companies now shows 30.8 percent ethnic diversity, that is below the 42.2 percent diversity of the total U.S. population.

Ethnic diversity in the advertising/marketing industry is lower for the senior level (versus the industry overall) and remains particularly poor for the African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino segments, which are under-represented compared with their share of the total U.S. population. Yet it's gratifying that the entry level is more diverse than ever -- aided by the fact that the younger U.S. population skews more multicultural and a result of progress made by corporate America to diversify the talent pipeline.

The report also has rich qualitative feedback from the open-ended question, "Are there any key action steps that have helped your company improve diversity within the marketing department?" That addresses areas including building a strategic framework for DEI, talent recruitment, talent retention, external engagement and multicultural marketing.

This work is an important initiative for the Society and Sustainability priority of the ANA Growth Agenda, which provides a guide for the industry to leverage marketing as a sustainable growth driver. A specific mandate for the Society and Sustainability working group is to achieve equal representation in the media and creative supply chain.

A focus of this working group is to "use marketing to promote equity and inclusion to achieve a better world for humanity and more growth and value for business." It further specifies: "Our aspiration means every link in the chain, at every level, reflects … racial and ethnic representation equal to the U.S. population. When we achieve this level of equality, evidence consistently points to better innovation, better problem-solving, and more growth. Equal representation builds greater access to opportunity. Equal representation leads to equity in income and wealth creation. That leads to more purchasing power -- which leads to market growth."

There is much more in the report.

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