Has DEI in Global Marketing Improved? WFA Launches Census to Find Out

The global survey will measure whether advertising and marketing workplaces are becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive

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The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is calling on marketing and advertising professionals around the world to participate in its second census measuring the state of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the industry. 

It is the most comprehensive survey focused on DEI in global marketing, covering 33 markets worldwide and supported by 10 organizations, including Adweek, VoxComm, Kantar, Cannes Lions and Effie Worldwide. Leading companies such as Bayer, BP, Danone, Diageo, The Estée Lauder Companies, Kraft Heinz, Reckitt and WPP are also supporting the effort. 

The WFA’s Global DEI Census will be open for responses between March 15 and April 15. Professionals from across the marketing ecosystem—including brands, agencies, media, ad tech and platforms–can participate by completing an anonymous, 15-minute questionnaire. The questions cover respondents’ demographic profiles, including race, ethnicity, religion and age, their views on DEI in the industry and their experiences at work.  

WFA will release results from the census in June 2023 to show any progress made in DEI, monitor people’s sense of belonging in their workplaces and identify negative behaviors and areas that need improvement. 

The census will be adapted across local markets for legal and cultural reasons. In the U.K., the Advertising Association, IPA and ISBA are overseeing the All In Census, which is running concurrently with WFA’s initiative.

The inaugural WFA Global DEI Census ran in 2021 and covered 27 markets. It found that 1 in 7 professionals said they would likely leave their company and the industry because of a lack of diversity and inclusion. 

The 2021 census also identified that the most common forms of discrimination were experienced on the basis of gender, age and caregiving responsibilities (those looking after the young, elderly or sick), as well as on the basis of race, ethnicity and disability. 

Since those findings, the WFA has published a Charter for Change that outlines how global organizations can take concrete steps to drive more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. 

“What gets measured gets managed. Our industry is facing a well-documented talent crisis. Ensuring our industry is more diverse, equitable and inclusive will go a long way to addressing this challenge,” WFA chief executive Stephan Loerke said in a statement. “There are patently clear moral and business cases for why our industry must better reflect the diversity of consumer we all aim to reach. This is why this exercise is so critical.”

If your company would like to participate in the second DEI Census, learn more on the WFA’s website

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