BLM response: Dentsu Aegis Network UK & Ireland

BAME staff figures not stated. The agency says its current data, collected on a voluntary basis, is not “robust or expansive enough to accurately capture our total employee base” but has launched an employee-led programme “designed to improve the levels of disclosure”.

BLM response: Dentsu Aegis Network UK & Ireland

New initiatives

At Dentsu Aegis Network UK&I, we are committed to implementing long-term sustainable change within our network and wider society to create a culture of fairness, equity and equality for all. This is based on a long-term commitment to drive the systemic change that will create a fair and equitable workplace that is truly representative of the society in which we operate.

As a result, we are looking to implement initiatives and policies that will make a tangible difference for nearly 4,000 employees based across 12 locations: London, Stafford, Bristol, Derby, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Belfast and Dublin. 

To do this, our leadership has been working with our race and ethnicity employee network Represent, which launched early this year and is made up of more than 180 employees from across our 19 agencies. It is led by a steering committee made up of five individuals from a range of specialisms. 

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, we accelerated an existing piece of work that Represent had undergone with our executive leadership team to define a set of tangible actions focused on three key areas of our business:  Culture, Talent, Work.  


  • Strengthen leadership accountability by connecting inclusion and diversity targets into incentive scheme and performance indicators, aligned to the IPA’s BAME targets.

  • Develop inclusive leadership as a core competency for senior leaders and all employees.

  • Review routes to redress for discriminatory behaviour: strengthen zero-tolerance policy and provide more support for those reporting complaints.

  • Pilot a “People and Culture” board: a platform for a diverse set of voices from around our business to be consulted on key policies (e.g. sustainability, returning to the office post-Covid-19).

  • Black Lives Matter focused actions: wellbeing support for black employees; making use of flexible working policy to reflect and/or protest.?


  • Review recruitment policy into entry-level roles and increase outreach into under-represented communities.

  • Reduce churn rate and increase pipeline of ethnically diverse talent, by identifying and developing high performers through leadership training and executive sponsorship programmes.

  • Review representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic talent across senior and graded roles and draw roadmap to address gaps through transparent and inclusive hiring strategies.

  • Pilot a reverse mentoring scheme with senior leaders across DAN UK: connecting diverse talent across the business with leadership.

  • Proactively review our race pay gap and draw up an action plan to address? this.


  • We will deliver work that is reflective of modern society, on platforms that are inclusive and diverse.

  • Review our supplier diversity and challenge existing suppliers on their commitments in this area.

  • Challenge our partners on their commitments to inclusion and diversity and ensure accurate representation of ethnic diversity in our work.

  • Increase ethnic diverse talent on our influencer roster at Gleam and make our brand partners more accountable for the campaigns they’re booking our talent into. 

  • Ensure accurate representation of ethnic diversity in our work. 

  • Actively source ethnic diversity in creative talent when engaging freelancers.

Represent and the executive leadership team are now working with leaders across our business to implement these policies in a phased approach across our three lines of business: media, creative and CRM. 

We announced these commitments to our entire UK business and aim to have embedded as many of these policies as possible into the way we work by the end of the year.


To complement these commitments, we have begun working with external recruitment providers to examine immediate ways that we can open up more opportunities for more diverse talent. 

Globally, our business has also begun recruiting chief equity officers for our key regions: The Americas, EMEA and APAC. These roles have been established in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement to specifically focus on delivering on our principles in a way that reflects the differing needs of each market. 

Existing initiatives

We’re a global business that spans 145 countries and with this scale comes different requirements based on the makeup of each individual geographic market. In the UK, our inclusion and diversity work has formed part of a wider social impact strategy that has a mission to create a digital society that works for all. This mission is built on three key pillars: “Digital skills”, “Tomorrow’s Leaders” and “Digital for Society”. 

Dentsu Aegis Network UK & Ireland has focused on diversifying our talent pipeline through our flagship schools and early careers programme The Code, which is now its fourth year. It opens the doors of our industry to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly those from BAME backgrounds, by sharing the skills and capabilities of our people. 

This initiative is built on delivering immersive workshops, work experience opportunities and apprenticeships. Such has been its success that it has now been rolled out globally across numerous markets including the US, Canada, China, Singapore, Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark and the UAE. This year we also responded to the developing situation surrounding Covid-19 by moving the entire UK curriculum online for the first time. We anticipate other markets will follow suit in due course. 

To date, we have reached more than 12,000 young people through The Code. Our aim is to reach 15,000 in the UK by the end of 2020.

BAME pay gap

Dentsu Aegis Network is wholly committed to ensuring equal pay and opportunities for all our employees. Our inclusion and diversity agenda contains a commitment to greater transparency and accountability when it comes to the ethnic diversity of our organisation. 

We ask all our employees to declare their ethnicity on a voluntary basis. However, we have found this voluntary information has so far not been robust or expansive enough to accurately capture our total employee base. As such, we have initiated an employee-led programme designed to improve the levels of disclosure.

Once we have data this is robust and expansive, we will then use it to track the progress against our targets including any ethnicity pay gap.

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