Investments in Diversity Hiring Aren’t Leading to Inclusivity in Advertising

ANA Educational Foundation report details challenges industry faces

The ANA released the report following a 2017 study by the AEF. - Credit by ANA
Headshot of Diana Pearl

The ANA Educational Foundation released a report this week detailing the challenges that the advertising industry still faces when it comes to hiring and retaining employees of color.

“Charting a More Diverse Pathway to Growth” focused on three demographics: African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. It was done in conjunction with a 2017 study from the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) called “Bridging the Talent Disconnect: Charting Pathways to Future Growth.” The most impactful conclusion from the report is that marketers have a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive atmosphere at companies for people of color.

The four key factors the survey identified were management disconnect, microaggressions, cultural illiteracy and workplace integration dissonance. Removing the jargon, that translates to managers not understanding the challenges and difficulties their employees face with regard to diversity, small actions that are “interpreted as insults to [an employee’s] culture and intelligence,” a lack of cultural understanding in the workplace and refraining from beginning a dialogue about diversity in the office over fear of professional retaliation or losing their jobs.

With the report’s results, the ANA’s Talent Forward Alliance set four guidelines to help marketers correct these factors and foster a more inclusive environment: rebuilding reputation with students, reconnecting with academia, recruiting and retaining with purpose and reinventing for the present and future.

The hope is that marketers will increase awareness of the industry with students, starting with better communication with those in the academic realm of marketing. Once students are out of school, marketers should work to recruit, hire and retain diverse talent, and build the right environment for that sort of growth to happen.

“Talent development does not rest on the shoulders of just the human resources department,” said Elliot Lum, svp of talent strategy and program initiatives for the AEF, in a statement accompanying the report. “It’s a shared and coordinated responsibility across HR, marketing, advertising and diversity leaders to enable and empower talent to drive growth for their organizations.”

One hundred and twenty interviews contributed to the AEF’s study, including CMOs, college students, marketing professors, agency executives and human resources team members.


@dianapearl_ diana.pearl@adweek.com Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.
Publish date: February 20, 2019 https://dev.adweek.com/brand-marketing/investments-in-diversity-hiring-arent-leading-to-inclusivity-in-advertising/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT