The Drum's recent Diversity Census invited individuals from across the marketing industries to tell us how their experience of being ‘different’ has shaped their careers.
Caner Daywood, social media community manager, FCB Inferno, is the latest to share his perspective in our 'Talent is Talent' series.
Glitter moustaches, David Bowie face paint and Balmain’s latest collection. My standard office attire. Clearly, I’m no wallflower. I use the way I dress as a form of artistic expression, not to reflect my sexuality, I like the attention this attracts. But also being gay and an ethnic minority means the attention I receive hasn’t always been without judgement.
Luckily times are changing; ethnicity and sexual orientation are becoming less of a barrier at work. But it’s undeniable that this barrier still exists (62 per cent of LGBT graduates return to ‘the closet’ when they start working). I’ve been a victim of this in previous work environments, especially within white collar industries, where hostility and stares were not uncommon.
At FCB Inferno I feel confident enough in myself, and my colleagues’ acceptance, to express myself, six inch heels and all. Although the gay movement is progressing, there is still far to go in this being a truly inclusive industry. Similarly, although ethnic representation is increasing within advertising, the percentage of ethnic people is still well below the proportion of those living in London, where most agencies are based, which is shocking.
The truth is that gender equality still sits top of the agenda for most agencies. Thankfully, we are seeing a lot of advancements within this area, but I do ask myself if homosexuality and ethnicity are only next in priority (and yes, I ask this in a Carrie Bradshaw way).
As with gender, diversity should not be a ‘box ticking’ exercise. Everyone must see past the label and focus on talent. It is in agencies’ interest to ensure a mix of employees; good diversity means a better understanding of audiences and cultures. An accepting, open culture encourages the most productive environment. I’m just glad I feel comfortable where I am - I just want the same for my fellow glamazons.