Global ad industry’s first diversity and inclusion census gets under way

Survey runs from 21 June to 2 July and aims to improve DE&I across the workforce around the world.

By Gideon Spanier

The advertising and marketing industry’s first global diversity and inclusion census is underway, running from 21 June to 2 July.

The World Federation of Advertisers is organising the census, which is supported by VoxComm and EACA, representing agencies, Campaign, Kantar, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and The Effies.

The start of the census on 21 June coincides with Cannes Lions, the ad industry’s biggest global festival of creativity, which is taking place virtually because of the pandemic.

Find out more and take the survey: www.wfanet.org/census

Diageo, GSK, Havas, Mars, Mondelez, Reckitt and WPP are among the advertisers and agency groups backing the survey, which is taking place in 27 markets.

Companies are urging employees to take part in the online census and provide socio-demographic data about themselves and perceptions of their workplace.

It takes about 15 minutes to fill in the survey.

“The pandemic has magnified inequalities everywhere,” a promotional film for the survey says, explaining why diversity and inclusion have risen up the agenda and the importance of establishing a “baseline” for the demographic make-up of the global ad industry workforce.

As the film puts it: “The Global DEI Census aims to measure where we are, so we can move forward.”

The WFA will present the findings, in collaboration with Campaign, in October – with a follow-up initiative “to measure progress” 18 months later.

Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA, said: “This is an unprecedented act of unity by the global marketing industry. We are humbled and delighted by the support from our global partners and critically from the national advertiser and agency associations – and their partner organisations – who are helping to drive the local samples.”

Tamara Daltroff, director-general of agencies association EACA and president of VoxComm, said: “The data from so many markets will be incredibly powerful in helping the industry focus its efforts on where they are most needed, helping us become a better, more diverse and more inclusive industry.”

The participating markets in this census are Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Greece, the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Hong Kong SAR, China, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US.

The Global DEI Census builds on the UK’s All In Census, which also used Kantar to collect data.

About 16,000 people took part in All In. It revealed people from black, Asian, disabled and working-class backgrounds lacked representation especially at senior levels, compared with the wider UK population, and were often more likely to leave the industry.