LONDON: As the IPA’s annual Diversity Survey shows only minor year-on-year improvements on diversity levels within agencies, the body's president has said it’s time to “step on the accelerator” with regards to implementing change.

The survey, based on 128 responses (a 56% response rate), covered agencies representing 85.8% of the employed base in IPA member agencies.

This showed that an equal gender balance across all agencies, although there is a slight bias towards men (51.8%) in creative agencies and towards women (53.5%) in media agencies.

And there were minimal male/female salary differentials relative to the percentage of staff employed at the various grading levels covered by the survey.

Starker gender differences emerged at the top of businesses, where there has been a marginal increase in women in C-suite roles year-on-year, from 30.3% in 2016 to 30.9% in 2017. The IPA has a target that 40% of all senior positions be held by women by 2020.

Meanwhile, just 12.9% of individuals were from a BAME background, up from 12.0% in 2016 and just 6.1% in 2007.

The IPA wants its biggest agencies to have at least 15% of leadership positions held by people from a non-white background by 2020; currently the figure stands at just 4.7% and this group is best represented at junior level (16.4%).

IPA president Sarah Golding admitted that “the rise in diversity doesn’t appear extreme enough or fast enough and we have yet to achieve parity at all levels”.

But, she argued, “there is an inevitable time lag from implementing change to seeing results, and we mustn’t lose heart. We must take solace in the fact we are on the right track”.

Writing in Campaign, she argued that, as an industry, “We’ve gone from benchmarking our diversity to planning how to address it.

“The gears are in motion, but it’s now time to step on the accelerator.”

Sourced from IPA, Campaign; additional content by WARC staff