It’s a debate rolling around the industry as to whether agencies should have quotas to fill to ensure diversity.
While some argue the concept of setting quotas shows measurability and is more likely to be accomplished, there’s the argument companies could start hiring to fill a quota, rather than who is best for the job.
“It can incent the wrong behaviours and choices,” Caroline Turner wrote for The Huffington Post. “It enables men to charge reverse discrimination. It can invite cynicism and backlash.”
When asking a table full of senior women at ad retargeting company AdRoll a yay or nay on quotas, Stacey Manes, vice president of human resources and recruiting, said it’s about having diversity on the hiring panel itself.
“A certain amount of a panel had to be a female. At the end of the day you pick the best candidate, but it ensured you had a more diverse panel of candidates.”
The move for AdRoll’s diverse recruitment panels was spearheaded by Michelle Filo, human resources director.
“In the Sydney office we’re very much looking at that diverse mix of recruitment interviewers,” she explained. “We have a large range of people from different disciplines that sit on the panel.
“It’s to ensure that whilst you can’t dictate how someone may operate, it’s about building an awareness around our bias. Once we’re aware of it we can make a more educated decision
“When we do interview, we ensure we have a variety of demographics that includes gender.”
In early 2015, creative Vicki Maguire at Grey Group in London, said she doesn’t mind quotas – but hates the thought agencies put in “orders” for people.
“‘Can we have two birds, a couple of ethnics; not Swedes, we’ve got them… Have you got any disabled?’” she quipped for British trade magazine Campaign Live.
Still, agencies should be looking at the remit and questioning their own diversity management.
“All clients should be asking questions when the same white besuited posh boys and professional northerners rock up to meeting after meeting talking about changing the cultural landscape,” added Maguire. “Come on. Anyone can see your agency is dying on its arse.
“If you can’t see that coming, you’re fucked.”