CreativeBrief asked: What one thing would you like to see the industry do differently in 2022 when it comes to building a truly inclusive and diverse workforce? Our Managing Director Rachel Cook gave her view.
It’s no secret that the advertising industry has a diversity problem. The most recent All In Census revealed that just 1% of black talent is in C-suite positions and 20% of UK advertising professionals attended fee-paying schools versus a national average of 7%.
Alongside this the industry is also facing a talent crisis, post-pandemic people have a renewed sense of what’s important and working for a company that places diversity and inclusion at its heart is higher on the agenda than ever.
Not only are inclusive workplaces the most appealing for employees, they are responsible for some of the best work and best creativity. Only when people feel they belong and can bring their true selves to work can they put their full energy and passion into work.
Knowing that a diverse, inclusive workforce is essential for creating great work, increased wellbeing and the happiness of the industry’s greatest asset, its talent; we asked industry leaders what one thing would you like to see the industry do differently in 2022 when it comes to building a truly inclusive and diverse workforce?
Rachel Cook, Managing Director of brand consultancy Thompson, commented:
"A huge part of making a change in diversity in our industry will come from taking a new approach to the recruitment process.
We can speak first hand of the poor state of play in the creative professions. Thompson is currently growing and we have ads out with over a dozen recruiters; sadly all of those recruiters have been surprised at our request for anonymised job applications. The feedback we’ve had is we’re the only agency asking them to take this simple step to start to remove implicit bias. Even after this firm requirement we’re still receiving CVs with names and photos. This important change was part of our overhauled recruitment process and we shouldn’t be alone in that.
Rewriting the job spec and explicitly stating an intention to embrace a diverse workforce has been shown to reduce barriers to application from those from excluded groups. Because of this, we’ve removed any reference to qualifications in our job specs. This helps us base our hiring decisions on who can do the job rather than who has a relevant university degree. We’ve already reaped the benefits of this approach; our Senior Developer applied for a position with us, wanting to get into a creative role but finding no success having not graduated from a university.
Change will come through committing to and outwardly communicating a determination to do things differently; in the creative sector we need to hold each other accountable for how we find new talent by actively taking down barriers in the recruitment process."