Talent and Diversity

Attracting new and diverse talent to the advertising and marketing communications industry.

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The IPA is committed to nurturing existing talent, monitoring diversity within the industry and championing inclusivity in the workplace.

Annie Gallimore, MD Engine and incoming Chair of IPA’s Talent Leadership Group expands on this agenda to attract and retain new and diverse talent to the industry. Working collaboratively with key partners, the group delivers a programme of inspirational events and initiatives as listed below.

Helping you to find and retain diverse talent

    See more Diversity & Inclusivity videos

    Attracting and hiring diverse candidates

    Advertising Unlocked

    Each year in September we run Advertising Unlocked when over 100 advertising and marketing communications agencies and over 100 schools are being brought together for the industry’s largest open day. Upon being matched with a local school by the IPA, agencies are able to give young people from a diverse range of backgrounds access to what goes into making an advertising campaign successful, the different roles available to them and open the doors to advertising as a possible career path for them. Get in touch with advertisingunlocked@ipa.co.uk to find out more.


    IPA works closely with Debut to connect Agencies with diverse, creatively driven and enthusiastic talent.

    Each year in June the IPA in partnership with Debut hosts a talent spotting event. The Debut offering gives agencies access to more than 70,000 entry-level candidates via their pioneering career app Debut

    Nurturing and celebrating talent

    The iList

    The IPA, in partnership with Unilever and Campaign, launched the iList initiative in November 2019 with the aim of showcasing and celebrating role models who are truly promoting and championing inclusivity within the advertising industry - no matter what level a person works at.ork.

    Read through the Campaign digital supplement to find out more about the outstanding individuals who are responsible for some of the most influential and wide-ranging diversity and inclusion initiatives in adland.

    Click anywhere on a page to zoom.

    Stepping into the Spotlight

    We recognise that in order to have better representation on screen we need more women in leadership positions in the business; so in 2017 we launched an inspiration programme for women in mid to senior level roles who are on the cusp of leadership called 'Stepping into the Spotlight'. These sessions run four times a year and feature inspirational women from across the creative industries and coaching on issues that women face in their careers. 

    IPA Industry Census

    In order to analyse and grow the diversity of the agency business to ensure its subsequent success, the IPA carries out an annual agency census.

    Since 1960 the IPA has charted overall employee numbers, working practices, staff turnover, as well as looking at the breakdown by gender, ethnic diversity, age, seniority and department, within creative, other non-media agencies and media agencies. Recently it has also reported on salary gaps by gender. These figures provide a vital benchmark for the diversity of the industry.

    The IPA 2015-2017 President, Tom Knox established a set of diversity targets for our industry to work towards:

    • Women to hold 40% of senior positions.
    • At least 15% of people in leadership positions will be from non-white backgrounds.
    • At least 25% of entry level recruits should be Black, Asian and ethnic minority individuals.

    The targets were aspirational and ambitious and they have given focus for a serious commitment and desire to make change happen from agencies up and down the country.

    The participation in the IPA Agency Census will become a mandatory component of CPD Accreditation from 2021 for all our member agencies – and we are working on supporting them through 2020 to make sure they are comfortable collecting this data and understand why it’s important to have a baseline.

    A Future of Fairness

    Launched in February 2021, a Future of Fairness is the latest in our talent publications portfolio, laying out important facts, stats and discussion in each key strand of diversity. It provides a snapshot of where we are now and which trends to look out for, while also stressing on the importance of representing diversity in the creative work we produce. The Future of Fairness is a compilation of the best of what our industry has to offer on D&I, with a must read road map at the end which will support agencies no matter where they are in their D&I journey.

    Black Lives Matter (BLM) for marketers 

    Useful inclusion strategies for racial diversity in the form of guidance, resources, FAQs and our top five starters, designed to inspire our agencies and allow for action oriented goals as we navigate our way through an increasingly complex and nuanced topic area.

    Developing existing talent

    • Our brand new Diversity and Inclusion Essentials Certificate launched in January 2021. With up to date online learning content provided by The Hobbs Consultancy, this qualification will help you to step up and affect positive change in your workplace. Each of the seven modules take an in-depth look at a workplace diversity and inclusion metric. At the end of each module you will receive clear actionable tips and guidelines, whether you are in that group or want to be an active ally for that group.
    • We continue to run a comprehensive training programme of over 60 courses and 7 qualifications covering: People & Leadership, Brands & Strategy, Creativity and Commercial skills.
    • IPA qualifications are now accessible in 87 countries.
    • Our basic level qualification, the Foundation Certificate is ingrained as a ‘must take’ for industry newcomers and is our most popular exam which we invigilate nationwide for around 1,000 people every year.
    • The number of accredited MIPAs is almost at four hundred, with one thousand people on the cusp of being accredited. The MIPA programme now includes a suite of ten courses and seven MIPA accredited qualifications, which are made up of a blend of pre-work, face to face learning and a marked assessment.
    • Our learning on understanding and building brands is delivered through a year-long programme called the IPA Excellence Diploma. This annual and intensive look into brands for the brightest minds in the business is now delivered through online and offline events, bespoke presentation days and imaginative coursework. There is a focus on fast strategies and presentations with delegates being exposed to new ways of thinking by challenging industry leaders.
    • On effectiveness, we have updated and expanded our training, developing a new course: Effectiveness Essentials which will offer a solid grounding in measuring advertising effectiveness.
    • Digital Performance Certificate covers key disciplines in digital marketing including SEO and Paid Search and helps delegates develop the skills to plan and implement successful digital marketing campaigns.
    • Members are able to showcase their professional development programmes through the IPA CPD Gold Awards.


    We are currently working with the following partners by sharing best practice, thought leadership and through event participation, consultancy work and judging awards:

    • All In: The Advertising Association, in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, have launched their ‘All In’ census - the first fully aggregated industry census.
    • BRIM co-chaired by Facebook, to focus on improving Black representation in the industry.
    • Creative Equals to promote their Equality Standard and Adland Commits pledgeto our membership.
    • Women of the Future Network to champion successful Black, Asian and ethnic minority women across all sectors.
    • Unstereotype Alliance run by UN Women and Unilever, a global movement aimed at eradicating harmful gender stereotypes in the ads. IPA is also a member of the new UK chapter of the UA.
    • Mayor of London and TfL on their Annual Diversity Award.
    • Creative Industries Council (CIC) Diversity Group which launched the first report on the state of D&I across the creative industries in 2020. 
    • Channel 4’s Annual Diversity Award to encourage agencies and brands to create and enter non-stereotypical content. 
    • Campaign’s Female Frontiers, to promote and celebrate women’s achievements.

    Featured events, publications and videos

    Please find a list of IPA events, publications and videos that educate about and address issues relating to inclusion and diversity in the advertising industry.

    Free job postings

    Member agencies can advertise vacancies free of charge on Jobs Online


    Leila Siddiqi

    Associate Director, Diversity


    0207 201 8265

    Last updated 22 April 2022

    Portraying diversity and inclusion for a modern day audience, that is both welcoming non-stereotypical communications and actively demanding a more accurate reflection of British society is one of our industry’s greatest opportunities.