Only 23% of UK and US agencies believe they are successfully implementing diversity, equity and inclusion within the workplace, according to a report by international executive search firm The Blueprint.
Additionally, 18% of figures across adland said they were doing “poorly” at building more diverse and equitable working cultures, and that they should be “doing a lot more”.
The report, which was based on a survey of 1,349 UK and US senior agency figures, aimed to identify the most dynamic and challenging aspects of the industry. In-depth interviews were also conducted with 26 of adland’s most experienced agency leaders.
According to the report, a lack of diversity in senior roles means that agencies are attracting less talent from diverse backgrounds.
An unnamed founder of an independent UK agency told researchers: “We are committed to hiring at entry levels from less traditional backgrounds.
“We go to considerable efforts to hire people who don’t have those backgrounds – non-white backgrounds essentially – and our numbers are quite strong. However, there are very few people in the middle or upper echelons of the industry who represent diversity properly.”
The report highlighted risk-averse behaviour at agencies and a continued prevalence of patriarchal structures that do not support gender equality.
In a wide-ranging report covering workplace behaviour and ethics, other findings included that pitching was “no longer the main attraction for younger generations”.
“These days, they see it as a side hustle to the main event – the fulfilment of their own creative and work expectations,” the report stated.
“Some agencies are starting to rethink how this informs the structure of their practice and their use of talent.”