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IPA reveals ethnic diversity of adland’s biggest agencies

New BAME figures released today (21st January) by the IPA reveal the ethnic diversity representation within the UK’s biggest agencies*. The IPA has also set an ambitious target for member agencies: by 2020, 15% of people in leadership positions should be from a non-white background. This is in addition to the IPA’s existing commitment to help the industry recruit 25% of new joiners from BAME backgrounds by 2020.


Survey highlights on ethnic diversity representation:

  • Employees from a BAME background account for 13.1% of agency staff.
  • At 14.5%, media agencies have a slightly higher percentage of BAME employees than creative agencies, at 12.3%.
  • 8.0% of those at the top end of the seniority scale (Chair, CEO, MD) are from a non-white background. This is higher in creative agencies at 10.8% than in media agencies at 2.9%. In FTSE 100 companies, 3.5% of senior executives are from a BAME background (source:
  • The percentage of employees from a non-white background is highest at the junior level. Overall 14.9% of those in an executive/assistant position are from a non-white background, 13.4% of which are in creative agencies and 18.3% are in media agencies.

This second set of figures have been gathered as part of President Tom Knox’s ‘Here for Good’ agenda to reassert and secure for the future advertising’s role as a culturally, social and economically enriching force for good.  

View the full set of diversity figures, along with the gender figures here

In commenting on the figures Tom Knox says: “13.1% BAME representation isn’t going to be good enough in the future and the fact that only 8% of the most senior people in our biggest agencies come from a non-white background concerns me. If we are to realise our goals, we need to do much more to promote the proven business case of diversity in leadership teams which will require us to come together as an industry and re-think our strategies.”  

The IPA will support its member agencies in meeting these targets by continuing to promote and develop a wealth of programmes including AdMission, Creative Pioneers and The Great British Diversity Experiment. The IPA is hosted a 44 Club diversity debate ‘Playing the BAME game’ on the 25 January.

The first part of the survey, on gender representation in the industry’s biggest agencies, was revealed last week (14 January).

This survey is in addition to the IPA’s annual Agency Census which was published on the 28th January.  

*The IPA’s biggest agencies either have a gross income above £20million or more than 200 employees. 

Last updated 28/01/2016

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