How can the marketing industry be more LGBTI friendly?

How can the marketing industry be more LGBTI friendly?
How can the marketing industry be more LGBTI friendly?

The Digitas panel discussion for Digital Pride last year (Photo: David Hudson)

It’s often easier to be out in some fields of work than others. A recent UK-based survey of architects found that just 3 out of 4 were out of work. By comparison, a 2014 study of engineers found that half hid their sexuality at work.

But what about the world of media and marketing? There’s a common preconception that it’s an industry in which it’s easy to be out. But is this always the case?

Leading connected marketing agency, Digitas, have been conducting a survey to find out. They will reveal the results next week as part of Digital Pride: The global, online, LGBTI Pride festival.

A study in 2014 revealed that 35% of the UK’s LGBT workforce felt compelled to lie about their personal lives at work. This includes many graduates, who decided to go back into the closet once they enter the world of work.

Digitas wants to examine why people feel unable to be themselves at work. To this end, it has surveyed hundreds of people working in a cross section of roles in marketing agencies to find out the reality.

‘We know there’s a problem with diversity in this industry’

‘People often think of agencies as safe, liberal places for people to work,’ says Michael Islip, CEO at Digitas. ‘But does that mean agency leaders have become complacent?

‘We know there’s a problem with diversity in this industry, and we wanted to explore just how deep this problem goes. We also know that having diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes clear business sense.

‘We hope that by carrying out this research and revealing the realities of life for LGBT+ people in agencies, people will feel inspired to take action.’

Digitas will hold a panel event to discuss the research and what steps agencies can take to make their workplaces more inclusive. Are the brands that marketing agencies work with ahead of them when it comes to diversity and inclusion? And what lessons can be learned?

Taking part will be Amy Nield, Senior Creative Strategist at Digitas; Tris Reid Smith (Editor, Gay Star News); David Goggin, Chief Talent Officer of Publicis Media; and Ben Lawrence, Co-Founder of Bope, among others.

The event will take place at Digitas offices at 146 Brick Lane, London, E1 6RU at 18.00 BST Wednesday 25th April and will be live-streamed on the Gay Star News Facebook page. To attend in person, RSVP here. Digitas is a client of Gay Star News.

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