Agencies should record diversity data, says IPA

Tom Knox: the IPA president launched the industry's diversity goals this year
Tom Knox: the IPA president launched the industry's diversity goals this year

Agencies should do more than take a general headcount of diverse staff, but also measure and record their progress over time.

That’s according to new practical guidance issued by the IPA, which has launched a hub to advise agencies on meeting the diversity targets it set earlier this year.

Set by the trade body’s president Tom Knox, these include having women occupy 40% of senior roles at agencies, and ethnic minorities taking 15% of senior roles at the biggest ad agencies by 2020.

Agencies should "use analytics" to measure gender, age and ethnicity of its staff and set out targets.

The IPA does not appear to be encouraging agencies to make that information public, as is becoming increasingly common in other sectors, such as technology.

Other practical tips include understanding why diversity is good for business, developing a top-down approach, providing unconscious bias training for staff, and nominating representative staff to push LGBT, ethnic and gender diversity.

The IPA has also launched a diversity hub which provides information on equalities regulation, retention and the portrayal of diversity in advertising.

One challenge will be ensuring the new resource becomes something agencies consult regularly.

The news comes after US brands Verizon, General Mills and HP instructed their agencies to submit proposals on boosting diversity internally. Industry leaders suggest this push for transparency will increasingly become the norm.

Leila Siddiqi, head of diversity at the IPA, said: "We are calling on agencies to get involved and put forward contributions, case studies and diversity champions for the hub in order to share best practice and thought leadership across the globe."

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