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ACA Releases Create Space Census Results

14/07/2022
Associations, Award Shows and Festivals
Sydney, Australia
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Launches action plan to address gender inequity, mental health and negative behaviours across the advertising industry

In an Australian first, Advertising Council Australia (ACA) has today released the findings of its Create Space Report & Action Plan - a comprehensive review into diversity and inclusion across Australia’s advertising industry.

The report, a collaboration with global insights agency Kantar, provides rich data into the makeup of the industry and people’s experiences at work – highlighting strengths, pinpointing gaps and identifying areas for immediate action.

Its release follows ACA’s inaugural Create Space Census in December 2021, which attracted 2,600 responses from advertising professionals across the sector.

“Create Space is brilliant. For the first time we have robust data to develop an industry-wide approach to diversity and inclusion,” said ACA CEO Tony Hale.

“The data confirms that we are a diverse industry with the vast majority of people having a high sense of belonging and experiencing low levels of discrimination. Dig a little deeper and it becomes evident that it’s not the case for everyone. As an industry, we need to be inclusive of all people, not just the majority,” he said.

The Create Space Report reveals that Australia’s advertising industry is more inclusive than many other industries globally, ranked well above Australia’s national norm and on par with overseas advertising industries.

Three-quarters of ad industry professionals feel a strong sense of belonging to the organisation they work for and 90 percent feel that they are a valued part of their direct team, with junior staff registering the highest levels of inclusion.

“However, inclusion does not extend to marginalised groups such as ethnic minorities, female and non-binary professionals, and others who experience negative behaviour and discrimination at work,” said ACA national head of engagement Hannah Sturrock.

“Create Space is about overturning an embedded culture and it won’t be a quick fix, but if we address each issue identified in the census comprehensively and over time, the social and economic benefits for our industry will be significant in years to come,” she said.

The report’s topline data reveals that women in advertising are six times more likely than men to experience gender discrimination, 58% of advertising professionals live with a physical or mental health condition, and one-fifth of employees are likely to leave the industry based on their experiences of discrimination and exclusion.

Twice as many people with a disability have been made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace compared to those who are non-disabled (24% vs 13%), experience of discrimination and negative behaviour at work is almost three times higher for people who identify as Asian (31% vs 12%), and 23% of people feel anxious in their job due to identifying as LGBTQI+.

ACA’s calls to action include adopting a suite of measures to address harassment in the workplace, outlined in ACA’s new Create (SAFE) Space Toolkit and 6-Point Action Plan; building better support systems for people with mental health conditions including becoming a Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace; and ensuring everyone understands the damaging impact of microaggressions in order to reduce their incidence, with resources designed to help identify, report and respond to everyday demeaning behaviour.

ACA D&I Committee Chair and President of WWP, Australia & New Zealand, Rose Herceg said that the industry's path forward on DEI is clear.

“The results of the Create Space Census are in. Organisations across the industry now have a comprehensive guide to ensure their workplaces are welcoming and inclusive of everyone,” she said.

“Many companies have their established policies on DEI. Adopting recommendations from the Create Space Report and Action Plan will help to accelerate progress in the most critical areas,” she said.

Each Create Space action will be supported by online workshops that give people the opportunity to hear more about how to implement them in their workplace.

Further actions based on the Create Space Report findings, and co-created by industry working groups, will be released later this year, focusing on ethnicity, LGBTQI+ and disability. Actions linked to age, social mobility and neurodiversity will be announced in 2023.

More resources, toolkits and training options will be added to the Create Space Hub in coming weeks, with ACA committed to benchmarking the industry progress on DEI every two years.

Download the Create Space Report and Action Plan from the Create Space Hub.

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