The ad industry might be cutting back on hiring, but there's one specialty role that's still in sky-high demand: Diversity, equity and inclusion.
The latest executive to be snapped up is Carl Desir, the former global executive director of equity, diversity and inclusion at R/GA, who is joining Netflix to become its director, inclusion strategy beginning next month. But Desir is just one of a string of execs taking up new roles in this increasingly hot diversity, equity and inclusion space. Both job-jumping and new hires are rising as marketing companies, and agencies in particular, rush to diversify their ranks in the wake of the current Black Lives Matter movement.
Consider these appointments just within the last few months: Wunderman Thompson named Ezinne (Kwubiri) Okoro as its first global chief inclusion, equity and diversity officer; Droga5 promoted Tiffany Edwards as its first global head of diversity and inclusion; and Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a WPP-owned PR firm, named Azuree Montoute-Lewis as global head of diversity, equity and inclusion and appointed Bridgette O'Neal U.S. head of DE&I. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mediabrands tapped Hermon Ghermay as its first global chief culture officer to, in part, lead its DE&I strategy, planning and execution. Mother hired James Nicholas Kinney as its first chief talent officer, whose responsibilities will include guiding the independent agency's diversity, equity, inclusion and culture initiatives.
And with demand comes a price. Jay Haines, founder of executive search firm Grace Blue, says agencies are willing to pay a pretty penny to recruit top talent for the job. Haines says the typical salary range for a diversity, equity and inclusion executive is between $250,000 and $350,000.
“There has been a dramatic uptick in interest, curiosity and recognized need for DE&I roles in the past six months,” Haines says. “The diversity conversation is becoming more narrow and agencies have to have the right DE&I policies in place as a result. Agencies are asking us to find those roles for them, to have representation at the C-suite. It would be remiss for a business to not have that person.”
Still, is that enough? It's one thing to hire a chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer, or someone with a similar title, and another to diversify from the top down and across all departments. Desir says it’s important for agencies to realize that it's not reasonable to let this critical work rest on just one person’s shoulders. That was key to him joining Netflix, where he will be part of a 12-person team led by VP, Inclusion Strategy Vernā Myers that works together to champion authentic representation across the company’s entire workforce and operations.