British Ad Exec Wants Adland Roles To Have 40% Women By 2020

British Ad Exec Wants Adland Roles To Have 40% Women By 2020

In another push for gender diversity in adland, British ad executive Tom Knox, who is also president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), has said he wants 40 per cent of women in advertising roles across IPA agencies by 2020.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Aside from just the gender diversity, Knox and the IPA are also aiming to have 15 per cent of adland roles filled by people from non-white backgrounds.

The diversity aims come after the IPA conducted a study into diversity within 37 of its biggest agencies and found it lacking.

The first part on gender sees more women in senior roles at media agencies than at creative agencies in the UK.

“The percentage of females declines markedly as females move up the seniority level – particularly between the levels of middle management at 49.5 per cent women, to the next level up of head of department where it falls to 39.2 per cent,” said the study.

“One of my key goals as IPA President is to attract and retain a talented and diverse workforce for the benefit of all. This survey has provided a highly insightful lay of the land – and it is pleasing that we compare favourably with other professional service companies,” said Knox.

“There is however a long way to go before we have achieved proportionate gender and ethnic diversity representation. By setting ourselves benchmarks we will be able to measure our collective progress in the future. The responsibility lies with all of us.”

While the study is from the UK, the diversity issue is definitely not limited to the land of tea and royals.

Australia too has been focusing on diversity.

Ad agency Leo Burnett made international headlines in 2015 when it hired five white male creative.

The agency drew so much condemnation for its lack of diversity within the image supplied to media outlets, CEO Peter Bosilkovski issued a statement saying it was something the agency had to address.

“While one photo isn’t reflective of our company, it does highlight that we clearly have an issue to address,” he said.

“And we need to publicly recognise that. This is an industry-wide issue, but we have to tend to our own backyard. We acknowledge that we some work to do when it comes to gender diversity in our creative department here. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but one that we need to face up to.”

While much of the chatter about diversity has centred around gender, it’s important to note there’s numerous other aspects that fall under diversity too, said Nicole Taylor, managing director at ad agency DDB.