Dentsu Aegis Network releases its diversity makeup
Jacki Kelley, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Americas, sent a leaked letter to staff detailing the ways in which the company will be working to build "a truly diverse workplace, absent of dicrimination, racism or bias." The letter also included the diversity makeup of the holding company.
"As I said a few weeks ago and again today, we realize just striving for inclusivity isn’t enough to achieve meaningful change, we must also be actively Anti-Racist," Kelley wrote. "We have an obligation to take a critical look at our practices and behavior, so that we can create sustainable equity for our Black, Hispanic, LatinX and other underrepresented colleagues. We also have an obligation to do the work to create that change. I am proud of the open discussions about race we have begun to have with each other. They may be uncomfortable and at times painful, but I think we all agree that those conversations are necessary for us to build plans together to create a truly diverse workplace, absent of discrimination, racism, or bias. "
The following statistics compare Dentsu's minority makeup to averages within the overall sector, leaning on standards set by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to Dentsu, 1.8 percent of its executives are Black or African American (compared to the EEOC stat of 2.4 percent); 7.1 percent are Asian (compared to the EEOC stat of 10.2 percent); 83.4 percent are white (compared to the sector stat of 82.8 percent); 3.6 percent are Hispanic or Latinx, which is in line with the EEOC stat; and 4.1 percent are of two or more races (compared to the EEOC stat of 1 percent).
Dentsu reports that 2.5 percent of its managers are Black or African American (compared to the EEOC stat of 4.8 percent); 9.2 percent of managers are Asian (compared to 15.3 percent, per the EEOC); 81.5 percent are white (compared to the EEOC stat of 72.9 percent); 5.1 percent are Hispanic or Latinx (compared to the EEOC stat of 5.4 percent); and 1.7 percent are of two or more races (compared to the EEOC stat of 1.5 percent).
According to the company, 6.9 percent of all of Dentsu's professionals are Black or African American (compared to the EEOC stat of 6.8 percent); 11.5 percent are Asian (compared to the EEOC stat of 18.1 percent); 71.6 percent are white (compared to the EEOC stat of 66.7 percent); 7.2 percent are Hispanic or Latinx (compared to the EEOC stat of 6.3 percent); and 2.8 percent are of two races or more (compared to the EEOC stat of 2.1 percent).
Kelley said in the letter, "We clearly have work to do, but this is just where we are today."
"Change is not only possible, it is probable," she continued. "We will be relentless. We have seen that when we focus our efforts and have agreement, together we are able to achieve aspirational goals. As we prioritize improvements on practices, procedures and training, we will ensure we are making decisions that will result in greater representation of more diverse candidates and employees. And as a result, we will create a more diverse and inclusive population, that engenders richer discussions with widely varied perspectives, from which our communities and clients will benefit. When I said we all need to be Anti-Racist, I was committing us all to being active in this both mind-set AND actions – becoming Allies, not just advocates; committing to 'un-learning' as much as we are committing to learning."
Kelley said Dentsu is working on a set of actions in line with the following principles to improve diversity and inclusion at the company: "We will not confuse activity for progress, or compliance for commitment; Fast, but thoughtful; Progress vs. perfection; Inside/out focus; Share all we create and learn to advance the industry; Critical KPIs tied to compensation; Shared principles with office actions."
"These principles are key to us being successful," Kelley said. "Our actions and their progress will tell our story and our efforts will be measurable in many meaningful ways."
Kelley commented in her letter on how Interpublic Group of Cos. was the first holding company to release its diversity data. She also acknowledged the open letter, signed by now more than 1,200 black agency professionals, that went out to U.S. shops last week outlining the list of actions they should take to achieve true equity for people of color in the industry. The letter was penned by Nathan Young, a group strategy director at Minneapolis agency Periscope, and Bennett D. Bennett, who runs independent consultancy Aerialist. The coalition has now evolved into an official nonprofit organization, called 600 & Rising and backed by the 4As, with the mission of holding the ad industry accountable over racial equality.
"We fully support this transparency, both as a company and for our industry," Kelley said.
Kelley added that these initial steps shouldn't give Dentsu reason "to pat ourselves on the back for simply recognizing what our Black, Hispanic, LatinX and [people of color] colleagues have been pointing out for far too long. Right now, we are going to focus on the work we need to do, to achieve the change we want to see, and once we have meaningful progress we will share with our industry peers, as we hope they will share with us too, so together we can create a more equitable workplace within our walls and beyond," she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, WPP became the first holding company to announce a commitment to taking "decisive action on each of the 12 points in the 'Call for Change'" open letter by Bennett and Young. WPP also announced an investment of $30 million over the next three years to fund inclusion programs within the holding company and support external organizations fighting racism.