"We've found that the pipeline [of candidates] is so small, especially in certain grad programs, that companies vie so intensely for such small pools," she says. "For the individual, it's a great situation. But for the company, if they and five competitors spend a lot of energy going after that candidate, over time they're going to get more and more discouraged that the sustained effort won't result in effective hiring."
Ms. Woolley advises companies in this predicament to maintain their programs and remember that, over time, diversity recruitment "is in line with a company's best interest."
In addition, there's the topic of personal ambitions.
It's a simple fact of business life that a minority employee, just like any other talented individual, will weigh all available employment options and select the one he feels is best. Ross Love last year left the VP-advertising position at Procter & Gamble Co., one of the top corporate advertising jobs in the world, and is now active with Blue Chip Broadcasting, an urban-format radio company he formed. Peter Kim last month resigned from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, where he was vice chairman-chief strategy officer, to start his own advertising consultancy, Bright Sun.
`REGARDLESS OF COLOR'
Mr. Wax remembers one respected African-American male who worked with him in the mid-'80s at Saatchi, then known as Compton Advertising. The employee, Mr. Wax recalls, was not seen merely as a member of a minority but as a talented individual on the fast track at the shop. Yet the employee left Compton to attend law school and become a public defender.
"I admired him tremendously and he broke my heart at the time. But he would have broken my heart regardless of his color," Mr. Wax says.
When more senior managers in marketing and advertising come to share Mr. Wax's commitment, diversity and inclusiveness in the ad business just might be closer than some think.