Over the past few weeks, Verizon joined HP and General Mills in demanding its ad agencies push for a more diverse workforce. In HP’s case, the company has gone so far as to give competing organizations “30 days to submit their figures and an ‘action plan, showing how they will increase real diversity in the future.”
Although the new initiatives are a boon to diversity supporters, there is still much work to be done before a 50/50 gender employment is achieved. According to Ali Hanan of Creative Equals “research shows just 14% of creative directors in London are female (worldwide this figure is 11%). The WACL – a club for the most senior women in the business – has just seven creative leaders on its membership list.” Although this is not an overnight solution, Hanan introduces 3 suggests to help improve gender diversity over the short term.
- Invest in training and mentoring your junior female talent?
- Promote rising stars on their potential
- Diversity is everyone’s issue, not just HR’s
The first step is always acknowledging a problem and creating a plan to solve it. This is a great first and second step. With more opportunities in advertising, I am sure more women and minorities will be influenced to join larger firms. A push from a company’s customer base can do more to change operations than anything else.