Surekha Ragavan
Jul 24, 2020

Is your office serious about diversity? We want to hear from you

Campaign Asia-Pacific and Kantar invite you to take our survey assessing how much companies in Asia have achieved in their pursuit of diversity, whether intersecting with gender, age, race, physical ability, or any other factor.

Is your office serious about diversity? We want to hear from you

Campaign Asia-Pacific and Kantar are excited to launch our fourth annual survey assessing inclusivity and diversity across the marketing, advertising and comms industries in APAC.

To show our appreciation for the time it takes to complete this survey, we'll be giving two winners—who will be randomly chosen—a one-year subscription to Campaign Asia-Pacific (US$180) or a ticket to the Campaign Leading Change conference, scheduled for Singapore in June 2021.

The findings will be announced during a virtual event to be held on September 15, 2020. The exclusive research will also be covered by Campaign Asia-Pacific. The results of this survey are anonymous, and names and companies cannot be traced. 

The survey this year will cover inclusivity across an expanded spectrum: gender, age, race, physical ability, mental health, and caretaking needs, among others. As conversations around diversity increasingly demand an appreciation for intersectionality, we see a greater need to cover a wide scope of attributes and needs.

Deadline: Sep 1, 2020

  • The survey explores whether you have experienced bias based on preconceived notions of ability; respect in the workplace and whether there is pressure to conform to stereotypes.
  • It also asks about how you are treated in your current organisation and what steps the company could take to improve.
  • It covers inappropriate behaviour—including sexual harassment and racial prejudice—and explores any of the reasons people hesitate to seek help.
  • We also want to find out if your workplace prioritises mental health, especially given WFH arrangements during COVID-19.

Do the gender woes go on?

From last year’s survey, we found that things were still dire across APAC adland. There was, for instance, more than one mention in the survey comments of “boys’ clubs” running certain industries. Women commented that they see their input in meetings being “written off”, while the same input offered by men is valued. The judgements levelled at women include labelling them as “demanding”, “perceived to be less assertive” and “emotional and can’t work under pressure”.

On the bright side, the #MeToo movement proved empowering for women in the industry, some of whom felt safe to speak up against powerful men in leadership positions. Last year, 70% of respondents said they felt more empowered to speak out about sexual harassment now than they did two years ago, for instance, and 69% said their company is taking sexual harassment more seriously than it did than the year before.

Some kinds of harassment also appeared to be on the decline. For example, fewer people reported “feeling uncomfortable at sexual innuendo or jokes made about a co-worker in your presence” compared to the previous year.

Keeping pace with race

With the #BlackLivesMatter movement dominating the news cycle this year, race is top-of-mind when it comes to discussing inclusivity. It’s discomforting that it had to take these many deaths due to police brutality for the world to reckon with the fact that systemic racism is a problem. But well, here we are.

From last year’s findings, 35% said they felt respect in the workplace was based on race, for instance, and a quarter said they had witnessed degrading comments towards others based on their race (11% had experienced this themselves). While race privilege in Asia—defined by majority and minority makeups as well as constitutional rights­—often differs country to country, last year’s survey showed passionate responses around the matter, due to the taboo nature of speaking about race in real life or in the workplace.

One common thread throughout comments last year was about reward, both in terms of trust and compensation, for ‘foreign’ or ‘Western’ behaviours and people. Colonialist structures upheld by white supremacy are a factor in APAC and our industry, and we need to be better at talking about it. We’ve written about the deafening silence among Asian brands and agencies about their efforts in this department.

Has COVID-19 affected diversity?

On the backdrop of so much injustice and hardship, COVID-19 threw the industry a curveball. Many during this time lost their jobs, have been put on forced leave, or took pay cuts.

From a separate survey Campaign Asia-Pacific conducted earlier this month, the biggest proportion (42%) believe there will be a slowdown in progress on gender diversity programmes in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, this was a slim majority; 40% said they did not expect gender diversity to stagnate in 2020, while 19% noted they were unsure.

We want to hear about how the pandemic has affected your workplace policies especially around mental health and caretaking duties. Are you being afforded flexible working hours? Are your mental health needs being taken care of?  We also want to hear if your workplace is continuing to prioritise diversity and inclusivity at this time, or whether programmes have been momentarily shelved.

So please take our survey and help us understand and detect systemic prejudices in the industry, which will allow us to report about issues from the root. Thank you!

Campaign Asia

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