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AA to crown ‘champion’ ad firms that hit inclusion targets

The ‘All In Champion’ status aims to tackle representation shortfalls in the industry

Members of the UK ad industry will be awarded for meeting the AA, IPA and ISBA’s inclusion requirements in a bid to improve representation in the industry.

A certification scheme has been launched off the back of damning results from adland’s first All In Census, which revealed just 3% of the workforce is Black and 22% of disabled talent wanted to quit the industry.

‘All In Champion’ status will be awarded in summer 2022 to firms that have improved the representation and experience of Black, disabled and working-class talent.

Launched in March, the All In Census surveyed 16,000 staffers from across the industry. Its findings led to the AA issuing the first three category action points. Gender, age, Asian talent, mental health and LGBT+ will be added to the action list in Q1.

The actions were shaped by the Advertising Association’s Inclusion Working Group, in collaboration with a cohort of industry pressure groups including Nabs, 40 Over Forty and Media for All.

To help companies reach the targets, a series of free webinars have been produced and a set of resources made available via the All in Hub on the AA’s website. The AA’s commercial director and inclusion lead Sharon Lloyd Barnes said the All In census garnered a “tremendously positive reaction from the industry.”

“The introduction of the ‘All In Champion’ status is a result of multiple requests to demonstrate real, tangible delivery on the action plan to improve inclusion levels in our workplace,” Lloyd Barnes said.

What industry stakeholders say

Each year another 2% of the working population becomes disabled. “I had no idea until it happened to me and that is why this is the most important campaign I’ve ever worked on,” said Danny Josephs, client partner at MFUSE and chair of the disability working group.

Mark Runacus MBE, joint chief executive of Outvertising and chair of the LGBTQ+ working group, said: “Our LGBT+ colleagues face many challenges in the workplace, and our recommendations will ensure they are truly welcomed, and enjoy a safe place where they can thrive and be their authentic selves.”

Naren Patel, founder of Media For All and chair of the Asian talent working group, said he was saddened by the survey results, which revealed the discrimination faced by people from Asian backgrounds. “I hope that we can work with the AA to raise awareness of the problem and make the industry a better place for people from all backgrounds,” Patel said.

Kate Waters, director of client strategy and planning, commercial and online at ITV and president for WACL, said the data proved there are still significant gender-related issues to address including sexual harassment and the motherhood penalty. “There’s much that can be done to accelerate gender equality and make our industry a better and more rewarding place to work for all women,” Waters said.

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