Agency Circle Results: Aussie Adland Appears Bereft Of Anyone Aged Over 50

Agency Circle Results: Aussie Adland Appears Bereft Of Anyone Aged Over 50

B&T remains a staunch supporter of diversity and inclusion via our Change The Ratio conference. It’s on 30th May in Sydney and you can check out all the details here.

The annual Agency Circle results –  Aussie adland’s diversity and inclusion survey – and despite some promise, it appears bad news for anyone aged 50-plus.

The 2018 survey results had 1524 respondents from creative agencies, which was a 33 per cent increase to the sample of 1,144 in 2017. Of the people who completed the questions on demographics, they were:

  • 76 per cent were Caucasian, 10 per cent were Asian, six per cent multiracial, one per cent Middle Eastern, only five are Black or African American and only one person who completed the survey was Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander
  • 59 per cent were female, 40 per cent male, and one per cent were non-binary
  • Chair/CEO/MD roles – 71 per cent male, 29 per cent female
  • Creative and design roles – 62 per cent male, 38 per cent female
  • Account management roles – 71 per cent female, 29 per cent male
  • Strategy/planning roles – 50 per cent female, 50 per cent male
  • Sixty per cent of the respondents were aged 34 years and under, 34 per cent are aged between 35-50 years and only five per cent are aged over 51-plus

This year also saw the inclusion of 398 respondents from media agencies as collated by the Media Federation of Australia. Although a much smaller database, a look at their results also demonstrates they have a similar racial distribution, a higher percentage of females and overall a younger age profile than creative agencies with:

  • 77 per cent Caucasian, 12 per cent Asian, five per cent Multiracial,  one per cent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • 65 per cent female, 32 per cent male, one per cent non-binary
  • 73 per cent of the respondents were aged under 34 years old, and only three per cent are aged over 50

On the whole, The Agency Circle saw positive shifts year on year, with on average a two-five per cent  change in most industry diversity measures across creative agencies. There were more significant improvements in the below areas:

  • People feel less likely to be overlooked for a promotion due to any type of discrimination (35 per cent decrease year on year).
  • The other biggest area of improvement where perceptions have shifted significantly around parental leave…
    • 19 per cent year on year increase in people believing that their culture is supportive of women who take parental leave
    • Similarly, a nine per cent increase also for a culture that supports men taking leave
    • And a staggering 30 per cent year-on-year increase in people agreeing that their agency culture is supportive of parents
  • The result of these significant shifts has led to an increase in perceptions that mothers are being considered for more high-level promotions (up 25 per cent)

And some smaller shifts in the right direction in the following key areas:

  • The industry is perceived as getting better at employing a diverse range of people (up four per cent)
  • Overall derogatory comments and/or jokes are on the decrease (down five per cent)
  • And respondents on the whole feel less strongly that people are over-sensitive to discrimination (down seven per cent)

However, some areas continue to demonstrate very little change. The industry lacks gender, racial and sexual orientation diversity at the senior level. We’re still 77 per cent Caucasian and within our ageing population only five per cent of our industry is aged 50-plus years.

The Agency Circle chairperson, Leo Burnett Australia head of talent, Sarah Palmer (main photo), said: “Our purpose it to provide agencies with the tools and processes to enable the change our industry deserves. This year’s results prove that shifts in the right direction are occurring, in particular improved perceptions around parental leave, however we would still like to see more emphasis placed on senior level positions held by a more diverse cross section of people, and that age is viewed as just a number when it comes to hiring people over 50 years old in our industry.”

Industry aggregated scores are released, however the agencies that take part this year will have the ability to monitor their progress against their own benchmark (from the previous years’ surveys), as well as the industry average, and will be expected to provide their key metrics to demonstrate their efforts.

The Agency Circle does not release individual agency results. Each member has bought into the charter and an honesty system, and agencies that are members will need to demonstrate affirmative progress to remain part of the group.

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    Latest comments
    1. At the age of 40 I could see I was usually the oldest in the room. At the age of 50 agencies felt uncomfortable with me in the room but clients certainly didn’t as experience from agencies was the thing they craved as they cringed watching the clumsy attempts of young agency staff to justify their existence. Restructures are great ways to deliver a refreshed youthful image they clients want. All too soon “we are looking for someone at a different stage of their career”. I’ve seen so many careers finish way too soon and the disastrous consequences of young teams lacking guidance and mentors. Sadly, agency land is the most ageist in the land.

    2. If we were to nominate the worst offender in the diversity and inclusion stakes within the Media & Advertising industry here in Australia; Ageism would win by a country mile…:)

agency circle Change the Ratio

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