Report: How To Fix Madison Avenue's Diversity Problem

A new report from a New York City thinktank indicates that the advertising industry remains one of the least diverse sectors in the city. 

That’s not new. The city has been complaining about poor Adland diversity numbers for decades. 

What’s interesting about the report is some of the ideas it offers to improve the situation. 



The report, from the Center For An Urban Future, recommends that city and state leaders expand access to advertising careers in New York City through a series of investments, including an “Advertising Talent Pipeline,” modeled on the successful Tech Talent Pipeline.   

And the report also gives a shoutout to some programs that appear to be working like the 4A’s Foundation’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program and “promising steps” taken by Horizon Media to combine career exploration in high schools with paid internships that lead to jobs.   

The city and the industry should redouble efforts to “promote, replicate, and scale up industry efforts that are already working,” like the above-referenced efforts, per the report.  

4 comments about "Report: How To Fix Madison Avenue's Diversity Problem".
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  1. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., June 19, 2024 at 4:44 p.m.

    The greatest obstacle to improving diversity by race is not recruitment, it's the K-12 (or preK-16) pipeline. Among public high school students in Chicago only 22% can read and only 19% can do math at grade level. So it's guaranteed that this poor preparation rules out many career choices.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 19, 2024 at 6:43 p.m.

    What would be interesting---so long as stats are being thrown about----is what kinds of jobs the various races are in----managerial, media, acounting, "creative" , account handling, etc. ---as this distinction often explains some of the income differences cited. In like manner, what about  the comparative  ages of the emloyees and how long they have been at their advertising jobs. Again, this would also help us to get a clearer picture.

    One thought would be for a review of how advertising is tought at our universities and what proportions of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc. attend such courses---as a way to at least prepare themselves to seek employment at ad agencies. Perhaps this is where some positive movement might be attained. It shouldn't  only be about how much money you can make.

  3. Kevin Killion from Stone House Systems, Inc., June 19, 2024 at 7 p.m.

    IMHO, it had nothing at all to do with how advertising is taught in college. If 4/5ths of kids are coming out of Chicago Public Schools are unable to read or do math, they're not going to wind up applying successfully at ad agencies. Fix the pipeline!

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 20, 2024 at 6:38 a.m.

    Kevin, the problem you raise is not the real reason why there are relatively few black employees at ad agencies. Nobody expects them to be recruited in the ghettos. The problem is that many potentially qualified black Americans don't have a clue about what the ad business has to offer them---besides money---or what kinds of advertising work they might like or be best  suited for.As most future employees will be drawn from the colege  ranks, it might be relevant to see what is being thought and how many blacks are attending such classes. Perhaps some improvements are in order.

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