Women leaders in advertising, media and tech decline


( l to r: Carol Watson,
Michele Prota, Lynn Branigan, Mita Mallick
Renetta McCann, Steven Wolfe Pereira)

A second annual diversity panel hosted by #Inclusive100 released their findings and the numbers say that companies talk a good game when it comes to making a more inclusive and diverse workplace for women and POC, but actually have a long way to go.

According to data released on Thursday at an Advertising Week panel, just 29 percent of corporate or executive positions at AMT companies are held by women.

That’s down from 30 percent last year.

Launched by SheRunsIt.org and management company Diversity Best Practices, #Inclusive100 is a collection of 23 companies that use data because its members are determined to improve the numbers, so they use the Index as a strategic roadmap.

The companies commit to three ideals: participate in the Diversity Best Practices (DBP) Inclusion Index, engage in roundtable conversations to confront challenges and break through barriers, and “walk the talk” with inclusive corporate policies and practices.

The panel titled, “Gender Parity, It’s Complicated,” featured, among others, Lynn Branigan (President & CEO, She Runs It) and Carol Watson (Senior Director, Global Advisory Services, DBP) to discuss further.

A Downward Trend

IMG_2041In terms of gender, the advertising, media and tech industry is relatively balanced (49% female/51% male) as an entry-level workforce, but the number of women continues to stubbornly decline with every level of seniority.

At the highest corporate level, women hold only 29% of executive positions while men hold 71%.

For people of color, there is a dramatic problem at every career level. No surprise there.

From entry-level, we see that Black, Latino and Asian employees represent less than 20% of the workforce.

By the time they reach the C-suite, people of color represent less than 5% of the C-Suite.

The only exception is a slight uptick in the number of Asian women at entry level and throughout career stages.

For example, the index clearly indicates that 70% of white women who have P&L responsibilities earned promotions in the past year, as did 25% of Asian women.

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However, Black and Latinx women don’t show up in the numbers. Lesson? Give more Black and Latino women revenue responsibility.

Goal setting at the management level is also critical, as is holding managers accountable to D&I performance.

Only 14% of managers in the advertising, media and tech industry are currently held accountable to D&I numbers, while 75% of the companies make D&I performance part of a performance compensation model.

The bottom line of the survey: Inclusion and Diversity start and end with the CEO.

While 93% of CEOs who lead highly indexed brand marketer companies regularly meet with their diversity executives to review goals and performance, only 21% of CEOs across advertising, media and tech do the same.

And only 43% of industry CEOs publish a commitment to Inclusion and Diversity on their corporate website while 100% of the high index brand marketer companies do so.