Diversity

How far have agencies come from being homogenous boys only clubs? Certainly, there are more women today than ever before working as CDs and presidents, and most agencies boast a roughly 50-50 male-female split. In fact, says Andrea Southcott, president/COO, TBWAVancouver, the issue for women these days is less about breaking the glass ceiling than where the grass is greenest. As for minorities, well, name two CDs or presidents who aren't white.

How far have agencies come from being homogenous boys only clubs? Certainly, there are more women today than ever before working as CDs and presidents, and most agencies boast a roughly 50-50 male-female split. In fact, says Andrea Southcott, president/COO, TBWAVancouver, the issue for women these days is less about breaking the glass ceiling than where the grass is greenest. As for minorities, well, name two CDs or presidents who aren’t white.

Still thinking? ‘In this industry, we don’t hire by putting out broad advertising,’ says Michael Griffiths, SVP and CD, Wunderman (who is black). ‘We usually go to other people in the business and ask, ‘Do you know of someone good?’ In many cases people’s friends reflect who they are, so you go to a white art director and you’re going to get another white art director.’

Griffiths estimates his Toronto office is made up of 15% to 20% visible minorities. The payoff is inclusive advertising. ‘Minorities tend to be represented less in the advertising because there isn’t anyone within the agency, and often on the client side, to raise the flag and say ‘Hey, I’m here too. I’m a consumer.”

SURVEY SAYS!

Griffiths says industry associations need to make more of an effort to promote advertising as a viable career option at schools. Individually, be conscious when you’re hiring. ‘When you’re recruiting, think, ‘Am I bringing in another clone of myself or am I bringing in someone who can bring another perspective?”