Diversity took centre stage at last week’s 4A’s Transformation Conference. “If you look out at this room, it’s clear we need to do a better job of responding to changes in the marketplace. It’s an issue of diversity and inclusion. Without getting the talent issue right we will not survive as an industry, ” commented CEO Michael Roth of IPG. “It’s ‘criminal neglect’ that we do not evaluate people and recruit like the best professional services companies,” added Sir Martin Sorrell, of WPP. “In terms of diversity it’s difficult if you don’t start at the campus level. That we are not on campus every year is a failure of the industry,” said John Wren, CEO of Omnicom during a productive conversation led by Brian Perkins, Corporate VP of Johnson & Johnson.
The diversity issue has topped industry priority lists for several years without visible results. I recommend the 4As and ad agency community collaborate to organise advertising TEDx career development and recruitment days at multiple college campuses, with a specific focus on recruiting students from diverse ethnic and international backgrounds. To contribute your time, your organisation’s support, financial support, ideas, moral support, or feedback (positive or negative) JOIN THE TED CONVERSATION HERE on ad industry diversity and college recruitment efforts.
“Talented diverse minorities look at their choices and see other businesses with established track records of career progress,” commented Wren. Roth agreed: “The real issue is getting new talent interested in our industry. We need to provide a clear career path and promote from within.” The executives agreed “it does not benefit any of us to poach talent from each other.”
Sorrell called for the CEOs to add ‘Chief Talent Officers’ to their corporate Boards of Directors, charging them with the responsibility for recruiting, developing and rewarding young talent and for achieving aggressive diversity goals. In a follow-up discussion, MDC Partners chairman Miles Nidal argued that he was his company’s chief talent officer, and was personally engaged in more than 90 per cent of MDC’s new hires. Interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times did not ask Nidal about his company’s diversity goals, but Nidal asked, “as an industry do we have the values and beliefs that people would find compelling?”
In a later presentation, Ronda Carnegie of TED (www.ted.com ) suggested “the best talent is sitting in the soil of your organisations and you don’t know who they are.” She recommended TEDx self-organised events, TED Conversations and TED Ads Worth Spreading initiatives as opportunities to identify and reward emerging talent. Following up on her proposal, you can join the TED Conversation on ad industry diversity and college recruitment efforts. If this link does not connect you, cut and paste this URL into your browser.
Jack Myers can be reached at [email protected]. JackMyersThinkTank is free and underwritten, as part of MediaBizBloggers.com, by subscriptions to Jack Myers Media Business Report (www.jackmyers.com). Subscribe free to all MediaBizBloggers reports at www.MediaBizBloggers. For Jack Myers Media Business Report subscription information visit www.myersreport.com or contact Jack Myers at [email protected]. Jack Myers and Media Advisory Group provide details on all underwriters and companies in which we have an investment at www.jackmyers.com.
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