Marketing Gender Equality

Survey reveals drop in women representation in executive marketing roles


By Imogen Watson, Senior reporter

September 27, 2019 | 3 min read

According to the third annual Diversity Best Practice (DBP) Inclusion Index and the second annual #inclusive100 benchmark, there has been a drop in the number women of working in executive positions, despite efforts to tackle the problem.

Report reveals decline in women leaders

Report reveals decline in women leaders

The inclusion index is run by She Runs It and DBP – a management consulting firm. The #Inclusive100 report is a collection of 23 companies that have signed up to ‘remove their blinders’ by using the index as a strategic roadmap.

The #inclusive100 includes a number of advertising, ad tech and media (AMT) companies, such as BBH, Dentsu Aegis Network, Leo Burnett, GroupM and Mediacom. As they endeavour to improve on diversity and inclusion, they have been measuring their progress in creating a more inclusive and diverse workforce and workplace.

Sadly, when compared to the year before, the findings are troubling, showing there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that the workforce in AMT industries are more reflective of the consumer population.

The report found that just 29% of corporate or executive positions at AMT companies are held by women, which is down from 30% last year.

When broken down by race, there was a slight uptick in the number of Asian women reaching the C-Suite, which was up 3% in 2019 versus 1% in 2018.

Black women’s representation remained steady at 1%, while both white women and Latinx women dropped to 24% and 0.3% respectively.

The results, while sobering, work to illuminate a clear path to greater inclusion and diversity, as the purpose of #Inclusive100 is to get a definitive and data-based understanding of the trends, as well as potential solutions.

For example, the index indicates that 70% of white women who have P&L responsibilities earned promotions in the past year, as did 25% of Asian women.

What it also showed was black and Latino women don’t show up in the numbers. Lesson? Give more Black and Latino women revenue responsibility

Another function of the #Inclusive100 report is to highlight the different diversity initiatives each company is working on.

However, it showed that AMT companies were behind. Only 7% said they set concrete diversity goals, compared to 57% of companies in all industries, according to DBP benchmarks.

And, while 71% of AMT companies say they have executive sponsors for employee resource groups that advocate for underrepresented groups, this is compared to 99% of companies across the board that do.

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