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Changing the story on diversity

18 Dec 2019 · 2 min read

Our Employee Experience Director, Reeha Alder, talks about her involvement in a programme to tackle the lack of diversity in agencies.

You might know that there are more people called David who head up FTSE 100 companies than there are people classed as an ethnic minority. In the creative digital sector we’re not much better in terms of diversity.

Gather everyone involved in one big room and you’ll immediately notice that we still have a major issue. The lack of diversity in management is particularly noticeable with a glaring headline that 97% of CEOs are from a white background. But that bias runs through every strata of management in every type of team.

The creative digital sector is a wonderful place to work. Many of us have the chance to do fulfilling jobs for exciting clients alongside brilliant colleagues.

But it’s by no means perfect. We live in an incredibly multi-cultural country with melting pots of talent everywhere. Yet those of us that have made it to board level in our industry (less than 5%) are the exception rather than the rule.

That’s why I’ve committed to a programme that aims to do something about the situation.

Creating a new generation

I’ve joined an advisory panel of industry executives for an initiative launched by Creative Equals called ‘Accelerate’. Our mission is to help create a next generation of C-suite executives who truly represent our diverse society.

We’ll be running a six-month bootcamp for 60 individuals with multicultural/BAME backgrounds, heading for management roles. The idea is to ensure they can thrive in their new roles and continue their journeys to the top. In addition, another 120 rising stars from diverse backgrounds will be given mentoring and help to further their careers.

The programme runs 11 February - June 2020 in London and requires agency leaders to nominate suitable people. At AmazeRealise, we’re certainly taking part and you have until Monday 13 January 2020 to apply. Just go to this page to nominate your next leaders and find out more.

Beyond colour

Diversity isn’t just a moral issue, although if it was that would be enough. It’s also an issue about getting the best talent in our society into the best positions we have. If amazing talent isn’t reaching the top because of the colour of their skin then we all lose out. We can’t drive creativity without diversity of thought. We can’t effectively market the products that serve our diverse consumers. And we can’t provide role models for our future leaders.

The McGregor Smith review of race in the workplace suggested that making the most of a mixed talent pool could provide a £24 billion boost to the economy. This applies to all sectors but it’s equally as true for those involved in the creative and digital business. I look forward to a future when the boardroom of every major company reflects the diversity of the society around it. We’ve still got a way to go but to make lasting change we need to act now and I hope everyone will support ‘Accelerate’.

Multicultural representation and industry future-proofing needs to be at the heart of every creative and media business. The most critical arena for this is the C-suite, where diversity progress to date has been glacial.

— June Sarpong MBE

Find out more about diversity and what you can do to support it. Contact Reeha using the form below.

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