We may be a smaller agency but we don’t feel limited by the level of change we can make to ethnic diversity in the advertising industry. The ultimate aim, as we see it, is for the advertising industry to accurately reflect the demographic make-up of the UK. We aim to lead by example with our D&I policies and initiatives and use our platform and creative output to advocate for diversity and inclusion.
We are an independent collective that works to the power of its network and we are continually bringing in positive and diverse influences from the outside world. We have put a new internal equality group in place, called “Group for Inspiring Voices”, which has a remit to ensure that every member of The Beyond Collective is informed about the Black Lives Matter movement, educated about the wider issues of diversity and inclusion, and armed with all the resources they need to make decisions, take opportunities, be creative, thrive and advance in the workplace.
The group aims to enrich the talent in The Beyond Collective by providing guidance, education and external influences to improve our creative output and its commercial impact through greater diversity in all its forms.
Educating ourselves is a key principle of the group and we are setting up a book club, which will focus on different aspects of diversity, starting this month with gender. We are also bringing our staff handbook more to the front and centre of our agency culture, as it contains all the behaviour principles we expect of every "Beyonder" as well as the processes in place to handle any issues related to diversity and inclusion.
We have developed connections and relationships with industry initiatives already in place, such as Free the Bid, No Trace, Bid.Black and SheSays, and we've also worked on the IPA's Advertising Unlocked initiative for the past two years, to ensure that we are making the most of every opportunity to bring more diverse voices into our workplace.
While we can't operate an expansive hiring policy in the same way as a network agency, we can exercise complete control over who our partner companies are and, crucially, we view these opportunities and decisions from a commercial as well as moral perspective – it makes business sense to widen and diversify our pool of influence and education.
Our founder and group chief executive, Zaid Al-Zaidy, is one of the few BAME CEOs in the UK’s top 50 creative agencies. Zaid has also recently been appointed as governor on the board at Ravensbourne University London, which has a strategic commitment to social mobility and runs an international student mobility programme.
BAME pay gap
Due to the size and structure of our business, this isn’t, as yet, a practical figure for us. But in future as we grow, we will look to measure this as part of our progress as an agency.