1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work

By AdNews | 17 May 2024
Caleb Woods via Unsplash

While most marketers agree that diversity and inclusion should be a business priority, discrimination and exclusion in the industry remains substantial, a report by the Western Australian Marketing Association (WAMA) finds.

In conjunction with Edith Cowan University (ECU), 573 marketers were surveyed in the A Way to Go report with 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work and 3 in 10 agency workers feeling they aren't treated with respect.

VML CSO Mel Wiese said it’s a pretty sobering baseline.

"We all have some basics to work on here, and fundamentally we need to understand that the science is in on diversity, inclusion and psychological safety creating happier, higher-performing teams," Wiese said.

“The first step is ego-at-the-door, drop-your-defences listening to what people really need from us as leaders. The next is perhaps sharing resources and what’s working, rather than seeing an inclusive workplace as a source of differentiation.

"The collective enemy is the haemorrhage of talent who expect and deserve better, from industries that have already got the memo."

While there are numerous marketing-focused DEI surveys and reports, WA represents its own unique ecosystem, and with it, an opportunity to take a leading role in DEI best practices.

There are no silver bullets and given the systemic issues in marketing industries globally, it’s a vital piece of work that WAMA and ECU have undertaken.

WAMA DEI lead Tess Palmyre said nationally, half of us have an overseas-born parent, around one in five live with disability, and an estimated 11 percent identify as part of the LGBTQA+ community.

“Our industry does not reflect this rich diversity and, for the small percentage of marketers from underrepresented groups, it can be a challenging experience to navigate a career in this environment," Palmyre said.

"We have the privilege of doing work that reflects or shapes the world around us and we are missing the diverse voices and perspectives we need to do justice to this work."

The report makes seven key recommendations with a call out for a long-term authentic commitment to inclusive workplaces instead of tick box policies and initiatives.

ECU chief investigator Melissa Fong-Emmerson said the study provides data-driven research for the industry to drive tangible improvements and take meaningful action.

"It exemplifies the immense value of research contributions that provide critical insight into the real-world challenges facing communities," Fong-Emmerson said.

"This is an example of how partnerships between industry and academia can yield impactful, meaningful outcomes.”

While some sobering insights have emerged, the work presents an opportunity for industry leaders to face the research head on and take considered action towards real change.

The report provides a critical benchmark for WA marketers to measure ongoing improvement over time. There is a noticeable desire for change within the industry to support workplace inclusivity.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus