While still a student and not yet heavily involved in the “agency” life I have not been able to fully experience the workplace environment and the diversity that is shown, or lack thereof. As a student I have observed how most people in my major are men, and Caucasian. Whether the lack of diversity is because of a lack of diverse applicants or a tendency to choose a specific type of person still yields to the fact that the advertising world has a severe deficit of diversity that largely plays into the thousands of ads that infiltrate our minds everyday.
It is biologically proven that people like familiarity and other people who look similar to them, so it is no wonder that as a largely Caucasian dominated industry we do not see many other ethnicities represented. Known as the “melting-pot” of the world, the representation that is created is often inaccurately skewed to show only a majority group. The diverse marketplace does not see ads with their ethnicity represented because those creating them are not diverse enough to show it. I Media Connection lists some staggering statistics on the percentages of ethnicities represented in the advertising industry, all well below 10%.
In 2012 the New York Times wrote about this issue and how agencies were trying to recruit diversity in the entry level positions but struggle greatly to retain the diversity among executive levels. While many groups and organizations are trying to change this there still, even now seems to be a large deficit. UNT is one of the most diverse school in Texas but my my major is largely dominated by Caucasian and even more so males.
These executives are making final decisions on all content released and without diversity in the creative process, there won’t be diversity put out. Though we are in a time where women’s rights and the feminist movement may be bigger than ever before we still see many traditional gender roles represented. The mother at home while the father walks through the door with a briefcase or women in bikini’s trying to sell beer. While we have seen more and more women become executives, in the advertising industry males still dominate the executive class. Women may be more involved in the creative process than before but we still seem to see very traditional and sometimes sexist ads that don’t accurately represent women today. While the industry may be striving to fill their employee roster with a more diverse community, it has yet to be able to retain that into higher executive positions and until that retention is met, I think we will still see a skew in the diversity represented in ads.