By Tempest Wright, Staff Writer/Illustrator –  October 29, 2020

Hiring Practices Take Marketing to the Next Level

In 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that out of the 56,000 people employed in advertising and public relations, less than 9 percent identified as Hispanic or Latino, 7 percent as Asian, and less than 6 percent as Black or African American. This is an issue when advertisers are meant to reach out and represent people across demographics, but the people of those demographics aren’t in the room with them making that content. This misrepresentation leads to misfires that result in a backlash – like the Pepsi commercial depicting protestors and police officers in riot gear sharing the beverage. 

During a month like Black History Month, brands target inspirational ads and other marketing materials toward the African American demographic but don’t extend any of that pride toward their hiring practices. Why is it that brands have no problem taking from minorities, but make little to no attempts to give back in the form of employment? For example, Google just released a touching ad celebrating Black History Month and the notable achievements of African Americans, but less than 3 percent of Google’s workforce is black. 

In advertising, only around 23 percent of professionals are African American, Asian, or Hispanic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s more to workplace diversity than just hiring. Companies have to make their workplaces hospitable to people of minority backgrounds or face a high turnover rate. A minority is less likely to do their best when they’re on the receiving end of microaggressions and offenses at work. The culture inside the business has to foster a healthy environment for diversity and inclusivity to thrive.

Brands and ad agencies alike can collaborate to develop a more inclusive work environment. According to Forbes, diverse companies are more likely to pull in a higher profit margin than those that are not. Both gender and ethnic diversity, especially among the executive team, are instrumental to a company’s success. Multiple perspectives bring fresh ideas and nuanced approaches that make sense for everyone.

Other than diversity, the key to a healthy workplace environment is inclusion. A company can have every different person imaginable, but if those people don’t have a voice, or aren’t allowed to contribute, all that diversity is for naught. Minorities can’t be hired just for brownie points – their contributions must be respected and implemented.

Big brands, such as General Mills, purposely seek out ad agencies with noticeably diverse creative teams. The chief marketer of HP also sent out a letter to five of his ad agencies demanding that they diversify their leadership teams. However, some employers claim that diverse talent is too sparse, leaving them no choice but to continue current hiring practices, specifically for executive roles. Despite this, more professionals of minority backgrounds are speaking up about their experiences and debunking these assumptions. Diversity and inclusion among marketers are not gimmicks. They affect people’s lives and attitudes and are instrumental to company success.


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