Just 12% of women of colour working in adland are in senior roles (head of department or creative director upwards), with that figure dropping to 6% when it comes to black women.
Research from Creative Equals, which surveyed 2,317 people working at UK ad agencies, found that men of colour fare slightly better than their female colleagues, with a quarter in senior roles – but this is still below the 34% of white men in senior roles.
It means that white men are almost three times as likely to be in a senior position as women of colour, and almost six times as likely as black women.
Overall, the study carried out by Ozoda Muminova, founder of Good Insight, found that out of all black Asian and minority ethnic people working in adland, only 17% are in senior roles, compared with 26% of white staff.
There was some positive progress in the numbers. A greater proportion of women were promoted last year than men; 20% and 15% respectively. This has been equal for women regardless of ethnicity.
However the report concluded that adland is still moving too slowly in promoting women of colour into senior roles.
"The pace of promotions, especially for BAME women, needs to accelerate to achieve greater parity in senior roles as historically more men have been promoted versus women and more white women versus BAME women," the report stated.
"The rate of promotion for BAME men is lagging behind: in the last year, only 9% of BAME men have been promoted versus 16% of white men; and, historically, 27% of BAME men have been promoted versus 33% of white men."
Creative Equals’ research also noted some shocking results around racism, homophobia, sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace, with a quarter of respondents saying they have experienced or witnessed this behaviour.
Women are more likely to experience or witness such behaviour than men – 26% and 19% respectively. Women from a BAME background were most likely to have experienced or witnessed inappropriate conduct in the past 12 months at 30%. This is compared with 21% for BAME men, 17% for white women and 10% for white men.