Women of colour feel less welcome in marketing

A CMA survey shows a gap between how marketers as a whole and their non-white, female peers feel about their workplaces.

While the marketing world as a whole feels like there are cracks in the glass ceiling, there are still discrepancies with how women, and specifically non-white women, feel in the marketing workplace.

CMA research finds that 90% of marketers see other women in prominent leadership roles, a positive sign following International Women’s Day. However, while the vast majority of marketers (91%) feel welcome at work, this number dips to 80% among non-white, women respondents.

These are among the latest insights revealed in the CMA’s Survey on Marketing Talent, in field until late January. The full results are still under review and will be made available in April, but the organization revealed this information earlyt, as it might be timely to those thinking about inclusion in the workplace this week.

“It’s encouraging to see that women are well represented in marketing leadership roles and that, ultimately, women feel that the marketing industry is safe and welcoming,” says CMA president and CEO John Wiltshire. However, Wiltshire points out that when it comes to improving inclusivity for women representing the BIPOC community and other minority groups, there is more work to be done.

In fact, 17% of marketers overall noticed that women in their workplace seemed less engaged due to discrimination, whatever form it might take. But when asked to self-report, 45% of women marketers admit they are not engaged for these reasons, at least some of the time.

The CMA data also reveals a gender split between workplace perceptions of inclusion: women in the marketing space are less likely than their male counterparts (69% vs 82%) to say that their workplace makes employees feel included.

Recently, a number of agencies announced that they’re signing on to combat systemic racism in the industry with over 450 individual signatories joining the call, with over 60 publicly committing to it. 

According to a previous CMA survey, agencies were taking an “informal” approach to gaps in hiring and pay equity, and that while 73% of agencies had protocols for achieving gender balance, 50% merely categorized them as “informal,” with only 5% having formal protocols and 18% handling it on a case-by-case basis. However, agencies like Leo Burnett and Publicis are taking steps to redress the issue.