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Female, minority representation rising in ad and marketing sectors

The trend: The marketing and advertising industry is making strides in hiring women and minorities, according to a recent Association of National Advertisers (ANA) study—but there’s room for improvement.

  • Female representation is the highest it’s ever been, at 68.3% vs. 67.1% a year ago.
  • Blacks now represent 7.2% of US marketing employees, improving from 6.6% last year. Asian workers accounted for 10.2%, down from 11.7% in 2021, and 10.9% identified as Hispanic/Latino, up from 8.9% a year ago.
  • The study of 81 companies included nearly 20,000 marketers who are US-based members of the ANA.

However: Despite this progress, there are causes for concern.

  • ANA’s study noted that the percentage of Blacks and Hispanics in the industry is still significantly lower than their share of the US population.
  • The number of actors in advertisements who were people of color fell to 27.6% this year from 34.5% in 2021, per an analysis of about 1 million US ads from Extreme Reach, an independent video ad server. About two-thirds of faces and voices featured in ads are male, the results found.

Why it matters: Given the power of advertising to inform and persuade, representation of diverse individuals in marketing personnel and promotions can have big implications.

  • The US is continuing to become more diverse. Census Bureau data from June 2022 shows all race and ethnicity groups increased from 2020 to 2021 except for Whites, which declined by 0.03%.
  • Hispanics had the largest numerical gain and were the second-fastest-growing, increasing by 767,907 people, or 1.24%.

The big takeaway: With the nation and world growing more diverse, the push for diversity, equity, and inclusion will not fade away. A 2022 Deloitte survey shows that 57% of consumers are more loyal to brands that commit to addressing social inequities.

  • To the extent that the advertising and marketing sector continues to limit its hiring of Hispanics, Blacks, LGBTQ+ and professionals from other diverse communities, it will continue to miss out on opportunities to introduce the clients they serve to new customers and make sure brand messages don’t offend from a cultural standpoint.