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The Ad Industry Still Needs Work on Workplace Inclusion



LGBTQ+ respondents report worse lived experiences at work than their heterosexual counterparts, with an Inclusion Index score of 58% for LGBTQ+ vs 65% for heterosexual staff. The number of disabled respondents has improved compared to 2021 (10% vs 7%). However, their responses suggested they are having a tough time with an inclusion index score of 45% compared to 67% for non-disabled respondents.

We must respond with purposeful action, weaving diversity and inclusion into the heart of our organizations

—Tamara Daltroff, president, VoxComm

As with 2021, the most common forms of discrimination were age, gender and family status. 8% of marketers had experienced discrimination based on their age with 32% agreeing age had hindered their career.

5% of people had come up against preconceptions based on their family or caregiver status, with 42% of all parents agreeing responsibilities at home had help up their career.

36% of women who had taken parental leave within the last 5 years said it had been disadvantageous to their progress at work compared to just 8% of men. 23% felt their gender alone had prevented progression.  

Tamara Daltroff, CEO at the European Association of Communications Agencies and president of comms agency alliance VoxComm, said the ongoing discrimination faced by women, LGBTQ+, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities showed there is still a long way to go.

“These revealing figures are a vital opportunity for our industry – we must respond with purposeful action, weaving diversity and inclusion into the very heart of our organizations, to create a nurturing environment where each person is embraced, valued, and empowered,” she said.

Bad industry experiences

Compared to straight, male and white professionals, women, LGBTQ+, ethnic minority and disabled people had the worst lived experiences with their organizations.

Each of these demographics were more likely to say they are unfairly spoken over, undervalued compared to colleagues of equal competence, bullied or made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace.

Though the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 16% of the world’s population experience a significant disability, just 10% of the DEI census respondents were disabled. 38% said they felt their disability had impacted their career and 27% reported being bullied.

Generally, ethnic minorities reported greater discrimination and less sense of belonging in the workplace. They too were under-represented at senior level with 48% agreeing there was people like them in senior positions against 61% of their ethnic majority counterparts. They were also twice as likely to leave the industry.

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