Sustained commitment: Nearly a year later, agencies are updating employee diversity data

Last June, agency holding companies publicly disclosed EEOC diversity data — a first for many of the agencies — after an open letter by more than 600 Black employees called for more transparency and inclusivity in the ad industry. Now, nearly a year later, agencies are slowly starting to release updates on the progress that has been made. 

Earlier this month, during an Instagram Live with executive creative director Walter Geer III, VMLY&R CEO Jon Cook shared that the agency increased its share of new Black hires from 6.6% to 11.5% this year. And last week, Dentsu unveiled a new diversity, equity and inclusion report with updated EEOC numbers as well as goals to reach by 2025 (what are those too?). The holding company is the first to roll out its updated data, but won’t be the only one as other holding companies indicated data was coming soon when asked by Digiday. 

As the updated numbers trickle out, the conversation around the diversity, equity and inclusion issues in advertising is beginning to ramp up again. Releasing updated EEOC numbers are just a snapshot of how the makeup of an agency has changed over the last year. Understanding the progress of DE&I at agencies is much more complicated than that snapshot, according to agency execs and employees. 

Continue reading to hear from our very own Devin O'Loughlin in Digiday.