For many years, diversity has been the leading discussion point within almost every industry. The sensitivities of equal and fair representation are as complicated as they are rewarding for organisations and their employees. Over time, an increasing number of industries are beginning to recognise the different ways in which diversity and inclusivity can be encouraged in the workforce. However, the creative industry hasn’t been quite as open as some, often feeling years behind the progress made in other industries.
Whether it’s race, sex, gender, or neurodiversity, diversity in the workplace is vital for every industry to flourish, particularly in the creative industry. Diversity contributes to an inclusive workplace culture, market appeal, and adaptability. In this blog, we’re going to take a deeper look into diversity within the industry, how it can change, and why it must improve.
There is no doubt that diversity within the creative industry can be fairly described as a “work in progress”, with only 11.4% of workers in the industry coming from ethnic minority backgrounds, and only 11.5% of creative directors in the US being female. The dominance of the white cisgendered male in advertising is holding back the industry from immense progress and success. Minorities need to see themselves reflected in leadership and industries in order to feel they too can succeed.
Businesses within the creative industry can take different steps to help improve diversity in their business. They can offer mentorships, training programs, and flexibility in their working patterns to accommodate different needs; the options are nearly endless. Ultimately, embracing diversity is crucial for the modern workforce to accurately reflect society, particularly for fields with influence, like advertising.
For many business owners this may seem like a daunting challenge, however, if done effectively, the benefits are immense for the business, workforce, their clients and the wider creative industry. It can increase productivity, lead to more creativity, and ultimately make a more welcoming and inclusive industry.
The latest figures show that people spend an average of 2 hours and 31 minutes a day on social media. With social taking up such a huge amount of our daily time, it has inevitably contributed to raising awareness for a variety of society’s challenges; with diversity being a lead.
With the security of anonymity and being physically removed, social media users tend to be more outspoken on the issues they see in society as a whole. Whilst this can sometimes be open to abuse, there’s no doubt that social media has acted as an effective mouthpiece when broaching the hurdles minorities face. Particularly for BAME (black and minority ethnic), trans, and neurodiverse individuals, social media has acted as a safe space to share experience and advice to others in their community.
Recently, companies have been sharing campaigns on social media about their take on diversity, and one campaign which caught the attention of the public was Google’s campaign ‘The more we learn, the closer we get.’ We especially loved this campaign as it explores the obstacles around diversity and promotes a clear message that it’s “ok not to know about every religion, race and gender”. Ultimately, if our curiosity is well placed, it can enable us to further our understanding and work towards improving diversity in our industry.
The future of the creative industry will continue to be shaped by companies and organisations that promote neurodiversity and diversity through training, recruitment, and promotion practices. Prioritising diversity, all the while providing resources for underrepresented groups is now a non-negotiable for ambitious brands.
Diversity of staff will lead to a diversity of ideas - ultimately fuelling the growth of any creative agency. Growing a diverse workforce isn’t just a numerical exercise; it’s a journey with real rewards for all involved throughout.
Furthermore, technology and artificial intelligence will provide new opportunities to address diversity challenges in the industry, but it is essential to consider how these tools are developed, deployed and monitored to ensure they do not perpetuate existing biases. This is something we’ll be exploring in a later blog post.
Education about different cultures and the nuances within them is going to be a huge part of pushing the growth of diversity within the creative industry. It will help by raising awareness and understanding of different cultures, beliefs and ways of experiencing the world. It helps individuals develop a more inclusive mindset and reduces prejudice and discrimination. Giving employees a voice within the workplace to share their experiences without judgement and ask for the support they need will encourage growth and allow individuals to exist as they are, without having to change to fit in.
Additionally, education and training can provide the necessary skills and knowledge to design and implement policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, as well as wider society. Recently, awareness surrounding neurodiversity has been particularly prevalent, with both neurodiverse employees and their employers making the effort to seek change and educate themselves surrounding inclusive working practises.
Our ‘Better Together’ team was created to ensure that everyone
within the agency always felt like they had a source of support whilst at work.
With a vision to contribute, challenge, and pioneer, Better Together’s mission
was to create a working atmosphere where people matter, voices are heard,
communities thrive and relationships count.
Implementing mental health training, bridging the gap between board and employees, highlighting the tools available to the team and organising socials, Better Together is constantly evolving as we address the ongoing subject of workplace wellbeing. You can read more about Better Together here.
From the Better Together team, Chloe and Lydia are working to bring Together Agency closer to MMR’s diversity and inclusion practices. Lydia’s dream is to have top-level education of neurodiversity, diversity and inclusion rolled out to all staff to increase awareness and understanding. That’s why she’s working with our parent company to make this dream a reality.
Diversity has many different benefits for the creative industry, we’ve only outlined a few within this blog. It’s something that we hold very close as a core component of what makes us special at Together. You can read more about our team and culture here.
Meet Better Together: our internal team dedicated to improving workplace wellbeing
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