The advertising industry has been showing a lot of intentionality in creating an inclusive work atmosphere to reap the benefits of diversity. The most heartening development is that the industry has acknowledged the importance of the mental health of its people and has been working on providing support. It has shown increased awareness around employee and consumer activism around DEI and ESG and its impact on the employer brand as well as the consumer brands that it services. There have been conversations around the impact of AI on DEI and proactive measures to be taken to ensure human biases do not pass onto machines.
When it comes to the women workforce, many of the larger ad networks have acknowledged the impact of menopause on women and are working on policies on this front. Industry bodies like Cannes Lions, WFA, ASCI, and trade publications have played an active role by conducting summits, panel discussions, fireside chats around the importance of mindful representation of the under-represented groups in advertising. Several agencies and clients have shown exemplary behaviours by creating work that shatters stereotypes.
The focus is on...
There will be an increased focus on increasing the women leadership pipeline and fixing the broken rung through equitable policies and development programmes. At the same time, companies will also try to move beyond gender to strengthen other strands of diversity like People with Disabilities (PwDs), LGBTQ, etc. Companies will become increasingly mindful of the importance of psychological safety at the workplace to deliver brave work. They will increasingly collaborate with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and external stakeholders to have authentic representation of the marginalised groups in the work they create.
There will be increased focus on leadership accountability through data and metrics. Providing remote work as a differentiator to retain women will gain momentum to fill the talent gap. Industry bodies will continue to push for better corporate citizenship through better representation both at the company level as well as in the work delivered.