Media and Advertising: D- Grade for Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent

By 1stFive Archives
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Compared to 15 leading industries, media and advertising ranks last for key diversity and inclusion performance metrics.

  • Media and advertising ranks lowest among 15 industries for retention of multi-cultural summer interns who join our community -- fewer than 20% remain after three years.
  • Media and advertising rank toward the bottom among 15 industries for attracting multi-cultural students from the top 30 universities and from colleges with a high density of multi-cultural students.
  • The average duration in first-time jobs is only nine-months, compared to 18 months just a decade ago.
  • According to a LinkedIn study, media and advertising employees suffer the lowest morale and have the lowest entry-level salaries among eight industries.

Yes, many media and advertising companies support and help underwrite diversity and inclusion programs: IRTS, IDEA, AdColor, AdFellows, the ANA, AD CLUB Foundation, 4As and IAB, and more.  They deserve credit and support.  There are those in our community who devote extraordinary personal effort to advancing multi-cultural diversity and inclusion; they are owed praise and recognition.  But they, more than anyone, realize how much of the support they receive is "talking the talk" and not "walking the walk."  As an industry we are failing to attract and retain the diverse talent that will be required to succeed in the future.

This year, through the MediaVillage 1stFive initiative, we launched the 25 Under 25 program in response to feedback from multi-cultural summer interns who have in recent years attended the annual 1stFive Summer Intern Experience.  Many of them informed us "they don't see themselves fitting into the organizations they worked for or a path to success for people like them."

The 1stFive Summer Intern Experience has welcomed more than 250 summer interns working in advertising and media each year for the past four years.  The retention rate for diverse young employees who joined us at each year's event is more than twice the industry average.  However, after four years of hosting the 1stFive Summer Intern Experience with events at Turner, OMD and Horizon Media, we were not able to generate sufficient support this year to continue this successful and important program.

Our plan was to introduce a job fair, add new speakers and educational components, and reach out to local colleges and through targeted social media to assure a strong representation of multi-cultural candidates.  Under the Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange, we have also introduced a college-loan relief scholarship program and created a non-profit organization, the Jacaronda Foundation, to administer it.

We will be introducing the 25 Under 25initiative later this year, selecting honorees from nominations of young emerging talent submitted by media companies, agencies, tech providers and marketers.  Application forms have been sent via e-mail to MediaVillage member companies.  We will highlight them through profiles at and plan to honor them at a new industry event focused on and serving our community's emerging leaders.  Our emphasis is on talent retention and promoting to college career development offices the inclusive diversity of our community.  We are also expanding the Pop-Up Job Fair model we successfully piloted at the MediaVillage Advancing Diversity Honors induction held last January during CES, where eight companies, organizations and individuals, including Unilever, Ad Council, IAB, IPG, Nielsen and others were honored for "walking the walk" on diversity and inclusion.

At the Advancing Diversity Honors event during next year's CES inductees will include P&G's Marc Pritchard, Budweiser's Ricardo Marquez, the NBA's Pam El, Kat Gordon of the 3% Conference, Madonna Badger of Badger & Winters, Robert Liodice and the ANA and Alma Har'el of #FreetheBid.  Look for additional details on 25 Under 25 and the Advancing Diversity Honors -- and hold January 9 from 3:30-7:30 for our event during CES.  For details please contact

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