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MFA delivers second annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report

The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has reported the results of its second annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey, completed by 2,203 individuals working in Australian media agencies.

The findings report that women represent a higher proportion of c-suite management roles than the average Australian workplace, however responses indicate there is room to be improved in regards to inclusion and existing bias in the industry.

Of those who responded, 80% said that they “had not experienced ignorance, prejudice, insensitivity, or exclusion in the past 12 months”, which leaves a worrying one in five employees in Australian media agencies having experienced bias in the workplace during this time.

Additionally, 94% said that they felt “included” and like they belong in the media industry, with 97% feeling “supported and safe to be themselves at work”. This also leaves 6% that do not feel included, and 3% that don’t feel as though they have the support to be themselves.

The survey found that 10% of the industry are members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It also found that only 0.3% reported to be First Nations people.

The industry also underrepresents those living with a diagnosed disability or special need, with only 4.31% in the media agency industry, with that number making up 17% of the general population. This figure was up from 1.2% of the industry in 2020.

In c-suite management roles, 45% are held by women, which is greater than the average Australian workplace figure of 32.5% of key roles being held by women.

The MFA’s head of people, Linda Wong, said: “This is the second year we’ve conducted an industry-wide DE&I survey, with a lot of useful data coming through. The results are shared with agencies so they can benchmark where they sit versus the rest of the industry, and to identify areas for improvement. We believe measuring what matters is a critical element to driving change and improvement, and this is just the start of our journey in making our industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive.”

Linda Wong

Tanvi Singh, vice chair of the MFA DE&I Advisory Council and Mindshare strategy director said: “The results of the DE&I survey are a great starting point for agencies in improving their own initiatives and programs in all areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. We’d like to see them be more aggressive with their targets so that we see the metrics shift towards a more diverse industry – one that is closer to aligning to the Australian population.”

A further breakdown of cultural backgrounds found “43% of media agency employees describe their cultural background as non-Australian, including 24% with North European background, 12% Southern and Eastern European, 17% Asian and 4% New Zealanders”.

The MFA said the goal “is for 100% of individuals in the industry to feel they belong and are safe to be themselves at work”. The aim of the survey is to help the MFA and its members track ongoing progress in this space, and to “provide strategic direction for improvement”.

The Advertising Council Australia (ACA) launches Create Space tomorrow, an industry-wide survey on the diversity of Australia’s advertising industry, following on from the UK Advertising Association’s ‘All In’ campaign.

The online survey will be available from 1 December to 15 December, with ACA encouraging the industry to make time to complete the survey.

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