The IPA has published its annual Agency Census detailing a breakdown of the make-up of agencies within IPA membership in 2019.
Overall numbers reveal that, at the time of data collection, the employed base in IPA member agencies in 2019 was 24,866, compared with the 25,142 recorded in 2018. While the number of employees in media agencies continued to grow, increasing by nearly 400 year-on-year to 11,357, the number of employees at creative and non-media agencies fell by over 600 to 13,509. The decline in overall staff numbers appears to have been mostly caused by a decrease in the use of employees on a fixed-term contract, from 2,127 in 2018 to 969 in 2019.
Females accounted for 52.6% of total employees, up slightly from 52.2% year-on-year. When looking at the gender balance by seniority, females occupied 59.5% of junior roles, up from 58% in 2018, and 34% of C-suite roles, up from 32.7% in 2018, and up significantly from 19% in 2002. The percentage of females in a C-suite role in 2019 was highest at 39.9% in media agencies with more than 200 employees and at 36.2% in creative and other non-media agencies with fewer than 200 employees.
There was a strong female bias in HR, finance, account management and new business roles, while there was a strong male bias in creative and digital roles.
Females accounted for 85% of the total part-time employed base. This was down from 86.8% in 2018.
There was an overall average salary gap in favour of males of 24.4%, compared to 24.2% in 2018. This stood at 28.1% in creative and other non-media agencies and 19.8% in media agencies, both in favour of males. The salary gap was highest at other executive management level where it stood at 18.9%, and was lowest at the junior/executive/assistant level at 0.9%.
The number of employees from an ethnic minority background sat at 13.7%, down slightly from 13.8% in 2018. Ethnic diversity in IPA member agencies was highest at junior levels at 17.7%, up from 16.9% in 2018, while 4.7% of C-suite roles were occupied by individuals from an ethnic minority background, down from 5.5% in 2018.
At the highest level of seniority (chair/CEO/MD) ethnic minority representation has doubled from 2% in 2017 to 4.1% in 2019.
44.8% of the employed base at IPA member agencies was aged 30 or under, down from 45.6% in 2018, while 6.3% were aged 50 or over, compared with 6.2% in 2018.
"Once again these figures show that while some improvements were noted in some areas in terms of the diversity of our industry, these are marginal at best and too slow in pace. Having said this, we do know that there is an inevitable lag between action and results. While there are mild fluctuations year-on-year, looking at the bigger picture over the longer term, the overall trajectory of the major trend data charted within the Census is positive.
The purpose of the Census is to provide a lay of the land and to hold a mirror up to our agency community to showcase where we stand and where we need to make improvements. This information will help our members to address diversity issues. As the agency community’s professional body, it is our duty to help ensure the longevity and success of our agency members, for which we know a diverse make-up of staff and a diversity of capability is essential.
"In addition to tracking these numbers, we provide a wealth of diversity and inclusivity support and activity for our agencies to draw on and promote and advocate the best possible equality standards, encouraging our members to embrace those.
"We also applaud agency members that are doing the best on this front and help publicise the good news stories there to encourage others. A case of positive reinforcement with rewarding recognition. On which note, we shall see many more examples of outstanding inclusivity when we publish our inaugural iList in mid-May.
"To exact real change, it is incumbent upon agencies to take control. Now more than ever."
Commenting on the effect of COVID-19 on the make-up of the industry, the full extent of which will be evident in the 2020 Census publication next year, the IPA’s Associate Director, Diversity Leila Siddiqi stresses the importance of inclusivity in these tough times:
"On a societal level, the pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, for example, those with lower incomes are getting poorer, mental health issues are on the rise and according to recent United Nations policy brief about the impact of COVID19, women’s lives will be affected disproportionately and differently from men particularly in the areas of economic impact, health, unpaid care work and gender-based violence. One of the most defining characteristics of a business is its culture, which is even less tangible in the current world of working remotely in a state of international emergency.
We urge our members to preserve their core values, stay true to their culture and be mindful of changing dynamics and working inclusively in a fair and empathetic manner while we learn to navigate an online work environment.
All of this work falls under the IPA Talent Leadership Group chaired by Julian Douglas, VCCP, with Leila Siddiqi leading on behalf of the IPA. Its mission is to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda for the industry, working collaboratively with key partners.
The full IPA Agency Census 2019 with details on the profile of the employed base by department type, gender, age and ethnicity as well as working practices and staff turnover is now available.Download the full IPA Agency Census 2019 for full details