Why you may never have to read another diversity article again

Ali Hanon

Who succeeds in the creative industry – and why? And, how can we truly unleash the potential of all creative talents? I’ve been working on a project to set the new Creative + Media Equality Standard which sets the bar for measuring how company policies, practices and behaviours stack up and, more importantly, what that means for the shop floor.

The fact is diversity is all in the data.

Here are eight trends discovered so far for working on this project:

Flexible working is seen to hinder career progression (whoever you are)

Across the board, most creatives (of either gender) are fearful of taking up flexible working. Interestingly, one father who was working a four-day week commented he felt sidelined in his role and wasn’t receiving the same calibre of briefs as when he was working full time.

Fathers in senior roles are most likely to suffer from burn out

Those who had taken off time for stress are most likely to be fathers in senior roles. At the same time, they’re also most like to say they ‘don’t mind’ working overtime, which will clearly contribute towards stress build up over time.

Affinity bias strongly comes into play with feedback

Men with a male line manager are 75% more likely to be ‘strongly agree’ they gain worthwhile feedback, but women feel they don’t. BAME groups are also less likely to feel they gain useful feedback.

We retain just over half of our mothers

Maternal retention rates are low. An average of 75% of mothers are still in a business after one year, but this drops after two to three years to less just over 50%.

BAME creatives are a long way from equal

This year, the IPA’s figures show a slump in BAME representatives from 13.1% to 12% across the industry. In creative departments, while our data pool is limited, the picture so far shows BAME creatives running at around 8%. While we’re attracting these talents in, BAME creatives are the most likely disagree their company is ‘committed to diversity and inclusion’.

Female creatives experience the ‘loyalty’ pay gap (but they’re paid more than their male peers at a junior level)

So far, the data shows us women who stay at a company for a long time experience smaller incremental jumps and experience a larger gender gap over time than their male peers. However, we’re seeing junior women being paid up to 20% more than their peers, as companies begin to recognise attracting female creatives as business critical.

Young creatives are less likely to be happy with their pay than older creatives

About 70% younger creatives (less than 28 years old) say they’re unhappy with their pay. The costs of living in the UK and London are steadily increasing, with average rent prices in London at £1,246 a month. Wages for the sector aren’t rising accordingly.

Those with neurodiversity issues struggle in the workplace

We ask for this data – many won’t handraise for fear of workplace stigma. Equally, one person with autism said they also found working in an open plan workplace challenging because of the noise levels and with their best working hours between 11pm-3am, the office presentee-sim meant they found it hard to be productive.

Mentors make a huge difference to how diverse employees perceive the company. Creatives with mentors within a business score it more highly across every single touch-point. However, 70% men won’t have thought about asking for a mentor, as most of them receive regular feedback from their (majority) male line managers.

To gain these insights, the Standard has two views across workplace culture, people and equality: one looks at a company’s HR policies, practices and behaviours, while the other view asks staff for their experiences (across gender, BAME, age, LGBTQ, ability, education, neurodiversity and wellness diversity), comparing and contrasting the data points.

We find as Creative Equals is an independent organisation, staff feel more at ease to reveal how they feel and think (our data is reported back anonymously) – and this insight is gold-dust for companies. What we uncover helps them recruit more diverse staff, save on retention costs, reduce stress-related leave, future-proof their reputation (and the work), but most importantly harness the power of diverse creatives.

Companies are rated and scored, and accreditation is given when companies pass a minimum set of requirements. So rather than talking about it, companies will gain an actionable road map and set of measures to show how they’re progressing. After all, we know we can ‘manage what we measure’.

So, for creative and media companies committed to diversity, the Standard is here.

The Creative and Media Equality Standard is a diversity and inclusion rating, review and road map for companies.

Ali Hanan is the founder of Creative Equals, a sponsor of this year's The Drum Creative Awards, which amongst its entries is searching for the Creative Woman of the Year.

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Ali Hanan

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