South African Marketing Industry Alliance launches WFA Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Census

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is launching the world’s first-ever global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) census of the marketing and advertising industry, designed to provide hard data on the people who are working in the profession.

In South Africa, an alliance comprising MASA, the local WFA affiliate and sister industry bodies the ACA, ARB, IAB, MRF and Kantar South Africa will spearhead this project to ensure wide reach across the corporate, agency, SMME and freelance marketing landscape.

Brian Yuyi, MASA CEO says: “As the South Africa affiliate of the WFA, MASA is enormously proud to be associated with this important DEI Census whose need cannot be overstated especially given South Africa’s global uniqueness on the broader matter of transformation of which Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are key elements. We are even prouder to have assembled a stellar cast of industry bodies and top research agency Kantar to join us on this journey with the aim of reaching each and every person involved in the broader marketing industry in South Africa.”

Global and Local data on workforce composition will inform the way forward

The survey will assess where the global advertising and marketing industry is in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) by investigating workforce composition across the industry as well as people’s perception of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, including their sense of belonging and their perception of progress. The response will inform the research results which will in turn make for informed discussions across the industry.

Globally, WFA has partnered with Kantar, trade publication Campaign and global agencies association EACA and VoxComm. This is also in strong collaboration with national advertiser and agency associations in 27 markets in order to promote the research survey and encourage as many local marketers as possible to participate. The goal, globally, is to generate the largest and most representative sample possible.

The initiative builds on work already carried out in the UK as part of the All In Initiative – as well as the many efforts led in the US by ANA and 4As and in other markets – with the aim of establishing a tangible baseline for the global industry.

WFA and its Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce believe that the strains and pressures of the pandemic have made it harder for many organisations to prioritise their diversity and inclusion efforts, while research has found that many women, in particular, have considered leaving the profession.

While national associations and their agency counterparts will be driving the research survey at local level with the support of local press and trade publications, corporate members of WFA and agencies involved in the WFA Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will be driving the initiative top-down via their own employees, clients, partners and marketing supply chains. Supporting organisations include Brand Advance, Diageo, Ferrero, Grupo Bimbo, GSK, Havas, Mars, Mondelez, m/SIX and Reckitt.

The South Africa alliance joins other national advertiser associations and their agency association counterparts who have confirmed participation in the census across a wide variety of countries and territories. The initiative will help inform an action plan for improvement led by WFA’s taskforce.

The Census

The census questionnaire will be live from 21 June to 02 July, 2021. The results will be compiled and analysed by Kantar and the key findings will be published by Campaign’s global network of editions later in the year and presented at leading industry events in October 2021. The results will also be used as the basis for an action plan devised and led by WFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. The WFA intends to team up with all stakeholders as well as Kantar and Campaign again in 18 months’ time to measure progress.

For Ivan Moroke, Kantar South Africa CEO, it is humbling to play such an important role in understanding people to inspire growth for the industry overall.  “It’s a business imperative, as diversity drives innovation and creativity, enabling us to better serve the needs of our clients, while inclusion creates a culture of belonging, where everyone is empowered to succeed. The census will ensure all voices are heard, coming together to shed light on the true state of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across the board in South Africa’s marketing industry – long painted as untransformed. This will pinpoint the exact challenges and opportunities to take action so we’re not only more representative of our country’s unique reality but also more inclusive and encouraging, painting a brighter path for the future.”

Presentation of Findings

The findings will be presented at leading global industry events in October this year and put into the public domain so that global groups, regional groups and, critically, local coalitions can ensure their DEI efforts are as focused as possible on perceived shortcomings. A follow up survey will be completed in 18 months’ time to measure progress, with the ultimate goal of generating the largest and most representative sample possible.

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General, Executive Director of UN Women and Chair of the Unstereotype Alliance says: “Progress in diversity and inclusion across the advertising industry has been inching forward where it should be racing ahead. The recent State of the Industry report launched by the Unstereotype Alliance shows that mechanisms to measure and hold organizations to account are critical to the improvement that is so urgently required. This census is an important step to uncover the extent to which marginalized and under-represented groups are under-resourced, and to help identify a clear path for progress.”

The South African Marketing Industry Alliance encourages all of their members and also non-members to participate by taking 15 minutes to fill in the survey which can be accessed  here.

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