'Being out at work is so important to career development' - Ogilvy Pride's Andrew Barratt on nurturing LGBT talent

Andrew Barratt

For The Drum's Diversity Census, we invited individuals from across the marketing industries to tell us how their experience of being ‘different’ has shaped their careers.

Andrew Barratt, head of Ogilvy Pride, is the latest to share his perspective in our 'Talent is Talent' series.

I am thankful for years of hard work by so many LGBT predecessors. Because of their efforts, I can be open and honest about who I am in the workplace. I made a decision to make my formative years in the workplace authentic from day one. I make sure that I am always comfortable with myself, and consequently I find my colleagues to be comfortable with me. This is a recipe for success.

Being out at work is so important to career development. Authenticity is one of the most important things in life to uphold, bringing happiness, success and, most importantly, friendships.

I founded the Ogilvy Pride UK LGBT & Straight Ally Network last year. We are the first advertising agency in London to have a global partnership with Stonewall’s Global Diversity Champions Programme. We were awarded a 100 per cent perfect score as a Best LGBT Place to Work in the Human Rights Campaign for 2016 and 2015 Corporate Index.

We are proud of our achievements in an industry which has traditionally not had diversity at the forefront of its business model. However, this is just the beginning and there is a still long way to go.

While it is brilliant that there is a strong number of LGBT people working in the industry, looking at the data from the Diversity Census, there are still very few visible LGBT role models in the industry.

Furthermore, the pipeline of LGBT talent does not reach senior leadership in many instances and so this needs to be addressed. In comparison to other industries, the advertising and marketing industry do not have the same level of investment in professional networks that foster diversity and inclusion.

For example, Deutsche Bank, IBM, EY, Barclays, Reed Smith and Thomson Reuters all have made strong progress to promote LGBT inclusion within their business, implementing the key areas of investment, role models and tracking to drive change, which is led in part by strong LGBT networks.

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The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

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