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Global survey of ad business DEI

Global DEI survey of marketing and advertising business

There is ample evidence that the marketing and advertising industry is facing an acute talent crisis, and that this is proving a major obstacle for growth, according to Stephan Loerke, WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) CEO “It is an absolute business imperative to ensure that our industry can retain the vital talent that it needs to survive and thrive”,  Loerke said when an industry coalition of ten global marketing and advertising organisations announced plans for a Global DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) Census in March 2023.

The initiative is supported by the WFA (World Federation af Advertisers), VoxComm, Campaign, Kantar, Advertising Week, Cannes Lions, Effie Worldwide, IAA, Global Web Index (GWI) and Adweek. 

The goal is to look again at the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the marketing and advertising industry, as well as people’s sense of belonging and absence of discrimination, in order to monitor progress on the results of the inaugural 2021 census, WFA says  

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“The results – due to be released in June 2023 – will be used to showcase areas of progress as well as highlighting areas where performance may have slipped back.”

Participating markets: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, SAR, Italy, Ireland, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE), and USA.

The Census will take place in March 2023, with the global coalition working closely with national associations, multinationals, agency groups and all other relevant industry groups to promote participation. It will also be coordinated in parallel with the UK’s All In survey, led by the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA.

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Respondents will be asked about their demographic profile including race/ethnicity, religion, age (in accordance with local legal frameworks) as well as their experiences at their place of work.

WFA says the first survey saw more than 160 organisations promote the initiative, making it the single biggest industry collaboration to date. “The research identified that the key areas where there was the most significant difference in lived experience were based around people’s caregiving responsibilities (those looking after the young, the elderly or the sick), age and gender as well as ethnicity and disability.”

“It also found that, while the marketing industry has been scoring more positively than other sectors, one in seven people would nevertheless consider leaving their company or the industry due to a lack of diversity and inclusion, going up to one in four in some markets.”

“We believe that it’s crucial to understand where the industry stands on diversity, equity and inclusion. Only by having true benchmarks can we seek to make the marketing and advertising industries more inclusive and therefore more effective. We are proud to support the World Federation of Advertisers in this aim,” said Ruth Mortimer, Global President, Advertising Week.

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