2021 Diversity Report for the U.S. Advertising & Marketing Industry

2021 Diversity Report for the U.S. Advertising & Marketing Industry

The struggle for the much-needed gender and ethnic diversity in the U.S. advertising and marketing is in the focus of the industry’s associations that monitor the developments in the marketing departments of the client-side marketers. The refreshing news is that women are actually the increasing majority in marketing departments, even though the percentage drops the higher the level.

For the fourth year, the Alliance for inclusive and Multicultural Marketing and the U.S. Association of National Advertisers have released a Diversity Report.

The study measured gender and ethnic diversity among the U.S.-based marketing departments of sixty-one companies that completed the diversity benchmark, representing 16,514 marketers in total. This project runs for the fourth year and the participation was the highest. The diversity of participants makes the 2021 respondent base also makes the survey more representative, as they were participants with over 1000 marketers as well as participants with under ten marketers.

The study, called a “diversity benchmark,” had four questions:

• Gender identity: Broken out by five different job levels. Job level descriptions and job title examples were provided to help with consistency among respondents.

• Ethnicity: Also broken out by five different job levels.

• Orientation/Ability: “Do your employees have the opportunity to self-identify as being either LGBTQ or a Person with a Disability?”

• Open-ended question: “Are there any key action steps that have helped your company improve diversity within the marketing department?”


Gender Identity

Overall the gender identity for the marketing departments of participating companies skews highly female: 63.8% female and 36.1% male, consistent with prior studies. In 2021, “NonBinary” was offered as an option for the first time.

The gender of marketing department staff skews female for every job level. But the higher the job level, the lower the % of women: 75.1% for admin (the lowest job level) and 54.8% for senior.


Gender Diversity

Gender diversity per job level


Read Also:  Advertising business suffers from lack of diversity

Ethnicity Overall

The overall ethnic skew of participants is more diverse, at 30.8%, but this is an only marginal year on year in increase for the last four years.

The industry is 6.6% African American/Black, 11.7% Asian, and 8.9% Hispanic/ Latino. African American/Black and Hispanic/Latino representation are both significantly lower than their proportion of the U.S population (at 12.1% and 18.7%, respectively). There has been no increase in the % of African Americans in the marketing industry, but there has been an increase in Asian and Hispanic representation.

There also seems to be a consistency across all job levels, as the % of diverse employees varies between 33.1% for entry levels to 28,5% for senior levels.

Ethnic Diversity

Read Also:  "Diversity" is the marketing word of the year 2021


Apparently CMO is a woman’s job!

Among 873 client-side marketer ANA company members, women CMOs have been consistently increasing year on year, reaching 54,6% from 45% four years ago.

Unfortunately, this does not reflect to ethnic diversity, as only 13.7% of CMOs and equivalents are diverse, with African Americans/Blacks comprising 4.6% while they are 12.0% of the total population. Asians comprise 5.5% and are 5.9% of the total population. Hispanics/Latinos comprise 3.6% even though they are 18.7% of the total population.

Diversity in CMOs in the US

Read Also:  Study: Female majority in marketing

Moonshot News is an independent European news website for all IT, Media and Advertising professionals, powered by women and with a focus on driving the narrative for diversity, inclusion and gender equality in the industry.

Our mission is to provide top and unbiased information for all professionals and to make sure that women get their fair share of voice in the news and in the spotlight!

We produce original content, news articles, a curated calendar of industry events and a database of women IT, Media and Advertising associations.



[email protected]

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

    Do you want an experienced opinion on a job issue?

    Moonshot Manager is here to answer!

      Moonshot community sharing thoughts and ideas, in a anonymous, safe environment.