As an industry reliant on a reputation of being creative, progressive and egalitarian we fall short of those ideals because we lack the information and structure to create truly diverse and inclusive workforces, argues Lorraine Jokovic (pictured above), ACA Board Member and Chair of ACA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Why does that matter? Because beyond doing what’s right, it’s increasingly clear to agency leaders that if they’re serious about the appeal of their organisations to both clients and talent then Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) are metrics that can no longer be ignored.
Conversation around D&I has grown rapidly; a particularly pleasing observation for someone who has been an enthusiastic supporter of this personally and through my business and board roles. Layer on a pandemic, economic and job insecurity plus a number of high-octane social movements and that’s enough to shine a spotlight on the fact that we are not moving as fast as we should be.
Most of us understand the significant benefits a diverse and inclusive industry can deliver but the reality is that beyond this broad statement very few understand much more. What we have been told is that diversity and inclusion is essential to our industry’s long-term prosperity, that our clients are demanding it of us, that our ability to compete and attract great talent is increasingly dependent upon it and ultimately that it produces better, creative and more effective work.
How can we work effectively if our organisations don’t hold a mirror to the society we are trying to connect with? And why aren’t we leading the charge when it comes to one of the most exciting developments for our industry and workforce? What’s holding us back?
The truth is we lack the data to quantify the challenges in order to develop and implement strategic change. Over the years there have been plenty of surveys but nothing that provides us with a deep understanding of where we stand as an industry, how we benchmark against other categories, and on the global stage, as well the issues specific to us. However, this is all about to change.
Last week, Advertising Council Australia (ACA) launched Create Space, the first-ever industry D&I census to be held 1 December 2021. With the full backing of the ACA board, Create Space is the first exciting step toward informing strategies that will address priority areas of under-representation and exclusion.
With performance measured every two years and integrated into upcoming accreditation standards this is a long-term project and a long-term commitment to create space in the industry, in the conversation, in leadership, in the work.
We need everyone to contribute by participating in the census; full-timers, part-timers, freelancers and those of you who no longer work in the industry. To build the best possible picture of our workforce we need you all.
Please mark the date – Wednesday, 1 December in your calendars and help us create change?
Only then will we know what we didn’t know and be able to build a sustainable, thriving, creative industry for the future.
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