As the IPA’s latest census on the UK advertising industry reveals, creative departments are still predominantly a boys’ club – white boys, at that
81.1% of all IPA member agency art directors are male. With copywriters, the figures are slightly better – ‘only’ 77.5% of those are male. But the brave new frontier of digital is the same old story as far as women are concerned – they make up only 19.1% of creatives. This should all be seen in the context of the figures for agencies as a whole, where women make up 46.7% of employees (but only 16% of CEOs/chairs/MDs).
In terms of ethnicity, at first sight things appear even worse. The IPA says that “Ninety-five of the 140 agencies submitting a full census return provided information in respect of the ethnic diversity of their employees. Figures from these agencies indicate that those from a non-white background account for 8.4% of the employed base.” Things have, however, improved from the last census in 2007 when only 6.1% of employees were non-white. There are no figures on the ethnicity of creative departments specifically.
However, when contrasted with the make-up of the UK population as a whole, advertising doesn’t fare badly at all. According to the most recent census (2001), only 7.9% of the UK population is officially classed as non-white. Even allowing for a possible increase in the meantime, advertising’s figure of 8.4% can be seen to be representative.
In the US, meanwhile, there is the threat of a class action suit against the ad industry over its diversity record.
And, before anyone pipes up, no, journalism doesn’t have much to write home about when it comes to diversity either.