Office Hours: D&I data doesn't look good, and ad exec details return to the office
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In a matter of months, the pandemic has transformed the way we communicate, where we conduct business, the technology we use, and how we juggle home and work life. Every Thursday, Ad Age looks at how these changes are impacting our professional lives.
As the ad world comes under scrutiny for its lack of diversity, new data from the Association of National Advertisers shows just how much work still needs to be done to boost representation in the advertising ranks. Just 12% of chief marketing officer positions are filled by Black, Hispanic or Asian people, Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz reports. White people accounted for 88% of CMO or CMO-equivalent roles in both 2020 and 2019, and 87% in 2018, according to the report; while Black people hold just 3% of CMO-level jobs, unchanged from 2019 and 2018. There’s one bright spot: the industry is getting better as it relates to gender diversity, with 52% of top marketer positions now held by women. This is up from 47% in 2019 and 45% in 2018. When you look at lower-ranking positions, ethnic diversity is a tad better, with 6% of the nearly 28,000 respondents identifying as Black, 10% Asian and 8% Hispanic.
Still, ad agencies and marketers have made some notable hires over the past few months. In the last week, Omnicom’s TBWA appointed Aliah Berman as chief diversity officer of North America; Dentsu’s Merkle tapped Kirt Morris as its first global chief equity officer where he will lead efforts to create a more equal workforce; Kansas City-based Barkley hired Adam Miller as its first director of diversity and inclusion; and Rapp Worldwide elevated Devin O’Loughlin to global chief diversity, equity, inclusion and communications officer.
Portland, Maine-based agency VIA is slowly starting to welcome employees back into the office on a voluntary basis. With two kids at home under the age of four, Chief Creative Officer Bobby Hershfield was eager to volunteer. His first day back includes learning how to read facial expressions under masks and figuring out how to insult creatives while remaining socially distant. Read Hershfield’s hour-by-hour look at his return to the office here.
While other parts of the country might see more of employees back in the office, in New York City there seems to be more of a hesitancy to return, according to Bloomberg. A new report from Kastle Systems International LLC shows the greater NYC area has had the least success among major U.S. regions in bringing employees back to the office, while Texas has seen the most workers return. Only about a quarter of workers from 10 large U.S. metro areas had returned to the office as of last week.
Room with a (garden) view
For those of you still working from home, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to get creative with space. For employees with limited space, or living with roommates or small children, finding a quiet place to work can be challenging. Ogilvy Chief Creative Officer Marcos Kotlhar set up an office in a greenhouse he built on his roof terrace in Brooklyn. We want to see your office space! Whether it’s a corner of a nursery, your kitchen table, a tripped-out garage or your bed (well, maybe not your bed). Send us pics of where you have been working from the past eight months to [email protected] and you could be featured in our next edition of Office Hours.
NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and AMC Networks are laying off more employees across the organizations. NBCU’s cuts will impact less than 5% of the entertainment network business and more layoffs are expected on the content side of the business in 2021, according to Variety. This comes following several rounds of restructuring at the peacock. ViacomCBS is also shedding 100 jobs, the latest round of layoffs following the merger between CBS and Viacom. The cuts are hitting multiple departments, including sales and shared services, Variety reports. AMC Networks, meanwhile, is eliminating 10% of its U.S. workforce, amounting to nearly 100 positions, in a reorganization aimed at streamlining the company’s linear and streaming operations, according to Deadline.
Training will likely be a higher priority for companies heading into 2021, as the learning that often happens through watching fellow employees is all but nonexistent in the pandemic. To this end, BBDO created its first global remote training and certification program in partnership with Facebook and Google, according to Campaign. Facebook adapted its Blueprint training program for creatives and strategists that focused on developing effective campaigns on its platform, while Google developed virtual training sessions centered on using insights and analytics throughout the creative planning process.
What does the expense report of the future look like? It seems like it will include lots of line items for internet usage. More employees are expensing items during the pandemic, and remote working has created some new expense policies. According to a survey by AppZen, an AI solution for finance teams, 75% of respondents submitted work-from-home expenses during the pandemic compared to 69% of employees who submitted expenses pre-COVID. These expenses include claims for home internet usage, with 46% of companies reimbursing for internet during COVID. One area where employees feel they aren’t fairly compensated is childcare, with only 29% saying they feel they are fairly compensated for these new types of work-from-home expenses, and 26% feeling uncomfortable about claiming these types of expenses.
The AppZen survey also reveals disparities in the expense report process based on roles and gender. While men are 80% likely to feel fairly reimbursed for work-from-home expenses, only 59% of women feel the same.
Working from home certainly comes with some perks, like the ability to wear pajama pants all day, but for those who have been accustomed to free snacks and catered lunch meetings, at-home lunches in month eight of the pandemic certainly have gotten ho-hum. According to research from the fast casual restaurant brand Schlotzsky’s, 50% of remote workers don’t look forward to lunch as much as they did when working at the office, and 52% say they are running out of ideas for what to eat for lunch while at home. So Schlotzsky’s tapped actor Brian Baumgartner, best known as Kevin Malone from “The Office,” to promote a work-from-home lunch upgrade campaign, giving away 5,000 free lunches and a chance to (virtually) dine with Baumgartner.
Interestingly, Baumgartner is also featured in another restaurant chain promotion for Main Event, which is selling online group events like escape rooms and trivia parties, starting at $25 per person.
That does it for this week's Office Hours. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
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