HP Reveals Results of Diversity Challenge for Its Agencies

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Antonio Lucio
Antonio Lucio Credit: HP

Last year, HP was one of several marketers to push their agencies to include more women and people of color in senior leadership positions on the account, particularly in their creative departments. Today, HP Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Antonio Lucio shares the results of his call specific to action. Not all went according to plan.

The challenge: Last September, Lucio tasked HP's global agencies—BBDO Worldwide, Fred & Farid, gyro, PHD and Edelman—with including more women and minorities in their ranks, specifically in senior and creative leadership roles. He set a goal of 56 percent women on account teams and 47 percent women in senior leadership roles. All agencies set their own goals for improved minority representation.

First, does HP walk the walk?: A year ago, the tech company, which recently posted a third-quarter net revenue increase of 10 percent to $13.1 billion, was 55 percent women, 43 percent of whom were managers or higher. When Lucio started in 2015, there were 20 percent in leadership roles. Overall, the marketing and communications department is composed of 63 percent women. Minorities represented some 26 percent of total employees in 2016, the most recent data available.

Now for the results.

The good: At HP's agencies, women now represent 61 percent of the brand's account teams—over 5 percent more than the goal. Women also now represent 51 percent of senior roles. When the challenge started, all brand account teams were less than 40 percent women overall, and many had 10 percent or even 0 percent women in leadership roles.

Regarding creative, BBDO's creative leadership is 40 percent female and Fred & Farid's is 55 percent female; neither agency had female creative leads on the account last year.

The not-so good: Three of the five agencies increased their minority representation, but even they failed to meet HP's target of 60 percent. Last year, just under 20 percent of HP's account teams were minorities; that figure has only risen to more than 25 percent today.

"As good as I feel on the progress with women, the progress on minority-represented groups was not as systemic as we wanted," says Lucio.

New targets: Lucio has asked agencies to identify specific underrepresented groups by country and set new objectives and strategies for pursuing such ethnicities in 2018.

Part of the problem, Lucio says, is that the underrepresented groups are difficult to find through traditional means, such as recruiting firms. He's encouraging agencies to pursue different ways of bringing new talent on board. In addition, HP is debuting a new diversity-focused talent search program, where minorities can network and share creative, with the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and sponsoring the 3% Conference and Free the Bid.

"The game is not over," says Lucio.

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