UK Advertising Needs You: Industry groups launch drive for more inclusive workforce

First initiative of new inclusion group is establishing online hub for diversity schemes.

UK Advertising Needs You: aims to showcase diversity initiatives
UK Advertising Needs You: aims to showcase diversity initiatives

The Advertising Association, ISBA and the IPA have formed an inclusion group focused on improving the diversity of the UK ad industry’s workforce and creative output. 

The group is chaired by Kathryn Jacob, chief executive of Pearl & Dean, and includes members from Channel 4, Creative Equals, GlaxoSmithKline, Saatchi & Saatchi, the IPA and ISBA, among others. Their first action is to create an online showcase, called "UK Advertising Needs You", for the industry’s diversity and inclusion schemes. 

The showcase offers advice for people who want to get into advertising and resources for employers looking to recruit from a wider range of candidates. It features initiatives such as BAME2020 and those from Creative Equals and Brixton Finishing School, covering backgrounds including gender and racial diversity, age, disability and neurodiversity.

The launch comes at a time when many businesses are reappraising the way they work due to the impact of Covid-19. Some industry leaders have warned that diversity could drop further down the agenda as companies grapple with the crisis. 

The inclusion group will meet monthly and track interest and interaction with the diversity schemes. The AA plans to direct the industry to the new showcase as a hub for information and guidance, and will run a creative campaign to build awareness of the resource over the coming months. 

Jacob said: "The success of UK advertising is built on our talent and it is vital that we nurture and access the widest pool of talent possible, as we know this always leads to the best work. Addressing our diversity and inclusion will enhance our reputation as a global hub for advertising and better answer the need for us to reflect the society we serve."

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the AA, added: "We have long known that great creativity is integrally linked to great diversity of thinking and experience, and we must do everything we can to build the world’s most diverse workforce. It is central to our future as a world-class advertising hub and we urge all employers to use the hub, both as a resource but also as a showcase to share the work they are doing in this area."

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