The Daily Telegraph

Women and minorities ahead in advertisin­g

- By Matt Oliver

WOMEN and ethnic minorities are now over-represente­d in the UK advertisin­g industry after a decades-long push to improve diversity, according to a survey.

A 2022 census found 55pc of employees in the sector were female – a rise of 24pc on the previous year, the Institute of Practition­ers in Advertisin­g (IPA) said.

At the same time, the proportion of non-white employees increased by almost a third to 24pc, compared with 18pc a year earlier.

Women made up 51pc of the population in England and Wales in 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics, while non-white ethnic groups comprised about 18pc. In London, where most of Britain’s advertisin­g industry is concentrat­ed, non-white ethnic groups represent 46pc of the population.

The IPA said there was more work to do on diversity, as women still only get just over a third of executive jobs in the advertisin­g industry, while non-white individual­s occupy 11pc of roles.

Paul Bainsfair, director-general of the IPA, said the results “demonstrat­e that our concerted collective efforts to improve diversity and inclusivit­y within our industry are beginning to pay off ”.

However, the figures come amid claims that a focus on social issues in advertisin­g may be distancing consumers. Research into adverts that won awards at the Cannes Lions Internatio­nal Festival of Creativity showed that 2021’s crop was less effective than pre- vious years.

Consultanc­y firm System1 found that while winners between 2010 and 2018 were seven times more likely to score highly with the public, in 2021 they were just 2.5 times more likely.

Last year, fellow consultanc­y the Pull Agency warned that marketers were becoming “out of touch” with consumers and risked being seen as telling audiences “how to think”.

Separately, official figures have revealed that government targets to boost the number of women on boards have been hit three years early.

About 40pc of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women, a goal that was originally pencilled in for 2025.

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