Modern Marketing

Almost a third of marketers have experienced discrimination during their career

By Katie McQuater | Magazine Editor

December 9, 2015 | 4 min read

Almost a third (30 per cent) of marketers have experienced discrimination in the workplace during their career in marketing, The Drum's Diversity Census has found.

The Drum's first survey on diversity polled over 750 individuals to establish the levels of diversity across the marketing industries and gain insight into pressing issues such as ethnic diversity, gender equality, LGBT representation and inclusion in the workplace.

Of those who have experienced discrimination, 36 per cent did not report the issue to their employer and a third (33 per cent) found their employer’s response unsatisfactory. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of all respondents did not believe their current workplace is a supportive place for them as an individual.

The research also revealed how a lack of diversity manifests itself in the marketing industries – largely in the fact that the majority of respondents were white (86 per cent) and educated to degree level (51 per cent).

Qualitative results of the research also revealed instances of institutionalised sexism, racism, homophobia, inherent bias in recruitment practices and discrimination against working parents, particularly mothers.

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Commenting on the results of the Census, Diana Tickell, chief executive of advertising industry charity Nabs, said: “I’m saddened by the fact that 30 per cent of the industry has experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace, from cultural ignorance to not being given the same opportunities as others.

“Other than doing our best to support those who experience discrimination, what can we do to reduce and prevent it in the first place? As an industry, we need to better value equality and emphasise the power of diversity and increase understanding in order to lower workplace prejudice.”

The Drum's editor Stephen Lepitak said: "The Drum Diversity Census could not come at a more appropriate time with the world currently at odds for various reasons, however the marketing services industry is still duty bound to widen the net of the people it employs more so than ever.

"The industry has a duty to represent society in order that it is able to widely engage for the benefit of advertisers. If it does not include all sections of society then how can it possibly claim to be able to understand it? We have examined the response to this need, with the backing of Cogs Agency, and the results are clear – there is still a lot of work to be done, but happily there is also willingness to improve the current situation."

The full Diversity Census results are published in association with Cogs Agency in a dedicated supplement with The Drum magazine today (9 December), with more highlights published here. See the infographic below for the survey's topline findings.

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