Are we there yet?
Founder and CEO
Tell us one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem.
There is no doubt in my mind that we still have an industry-wide problem with hiring Asian, African-American and Hispanic talent. At Mering, we have been actively recruiting across our brand and creative teams this summer and ethnic candidates have been lacking. I think as an independent U.S. agency we may be even more challenged than the global holding companies, which may attract talent in these areas because they are multinational brands.
I also believe part of the problem is that the younger generations just aren’t seeing senior role models in our business. It is up to us to externally promote diverse talent at conferences, in the press, at career fairs, and as speakers at universities so individuals can identify with, emulate and be mentored by their more senior counterparts.
How about something that proves we’re making progress?
We have made great strides, I believe, in recruiting and promoting females in our industry – especially in the last 12 months. At our agency, we have historically never lacked female talent – in fact, many departments are female-dominant and our management team is predominantly female.
What else needs to be done to get there?
We need to start attracting talent at a younger age to our industry. This has to begin at the university level or even before. Our industry stars need to make an effort to mentor the next generation. And agencies should create strong internship programs that can compete with those in other disciplines like law or financial services. Our focus needs to shift not only to building our own agency brands, but also for our industry overall across all areas (creative, media, account management etc).