• Despite one in two saying things are improving, inclusion scores remain the same as in 2021
  • Greatest forms of discrimination still on basis of age, gender, and care-giving status

TORONTO (June 15, 2023) – Nearly one in seven members of the global marketing industry say they would leave our industry due to a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion, according to responses to the 2023 Global DEI Census.

The picture is even worse among certain groups, with 16% of women (almost 1 in 6), 17% of 2SLGBTQ+ (1 in 6), 22% of ethnic minorities (more than 1 in 5) and 24% of disabled respondents (almost 1 in 4) say they are likely to leave. Younger professionals (25-34 years) and caregivers are also slightly more likely to leave than the global average (18% vs 14%).

The overall one in seven figure remains the same as that found by the first Global Census on DEI in 2021 despite all the efforts that companies have made to increase diversity, retain talent, and improve their appeal to potential employees around the world.

These efforts are recognised, however, with nearly three in four (72%) respondents globally acknowledging industry attempts to improve the lived experiences of key groups. The numbers vary widely by country though peaking in Canada (87%), the USA (87%) and Singapore (86%) but significantly lower in Japan (49%), Slovenia (51%) and Poland (54%).

Half the respondents to the survey (50%) said things have improved but three in ten (30%) said things were the same as in 2021. Again, responses varied by country. Seven in 10 agreed that things had improved in Spain (70%), Brazil (69%) and Canada (63%). Globally, those in senior positions were more likely to report that things have improved (58%) compared with managers (49%) and junior staff (42%).

The overall level of inclusion, calculated based on answers to questions about a respondent’s sense of well-being, revealed an absence of discrimination but a presence of negative behaviours, which was almost identical to 2021. In Wave I, the global DEI inclusion index was 64% (69% for men and 61% for women) versus Wave II at 63% (69% for men and 61% for women). For 2SLGBTQ+ respondents, the Index has fallen two points from 60% to 58%.

The most common forms of discrimination reported are still around age, gender, and family status. Forty-one per cent of women, 42% of parents and 39% of caregivers feel that family responsibilities hinder one’s career. 12% of respondents aged 18-24 and 18% between 55-64 said they personally experienced age discrimination compared to an overall global average of 8%.

Women, 2SLGBT12Q+, ethnic minority and disabled respondents still have worse experiences than their counterparts. Men reported living better work experiences (69%) than women (61%). Disabled respondents reported living the worst work experiences (45% versus 67% non-disabled). Women, disabled and ethnic minority respondents are all more likely to say they are unfairly spoken over (30% of women versus 21% men, 39% of disabled versus 25% non-disabled and 30% for ethnic minority respondents respectively versus 26% for ethnic majority respondents), undervalued compared to colleagues of equal competence (31% for women versus 23% men, 42% for disabled versus 26% for non-disabled, 33% for ethnic minorities versus 26% for their majority counterparts), bullied or made to feel uncomfortable in the workplace.

The results are based on nearly 13k responses from 91 countries providing detailed insights into people’s lived experiences from across the industry globally. In Canada, the initiative was supported by a coalition of 12 advertising associations and media partners: Ad Standards, A2C, Canadian Directors Media Council (CMDC), Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada (DAAC), IAB Canada, ICA, Pride AM, the Multicultural Marketing Alliance of Canada (MMAC), thinkTV, and media partners, strategy, Marketing News Canada, and Grenier aux Nouvelles.

The Canadian report of the second wave of this global DEI census will be released in July. Access key findings of the global report here.

I am very pleased to see in this preliminary report that Canada is leading in the attempts to improve the lived experiences of key groups in our industry. By no means are we near where we should be, but it is promising to learn that our peers are starting to feel and recognize the changes that are occurring. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each of our Canadian partners who helped drive awareness of this survey and to each respondent who took the time to lend their voice to this important initiative. The industry has spoken and now’s the time to stay focused on moving the needle towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry,” said Davina Wong, Director of Membership, ACA.

Other key findings include:

  • 2SLGBTQ+ respondents report worse lived experiences at work than their heterosexual counterparts, with an Inclusion Index score of 58% for LGBQ+ vs 65% for heterosexuals.
  • The number of disabled respondents has improved compared to 2021 (10% vs 7%) and is closer to the global benchmark of 15%. Their responses, however, suggest that they are having a tough time with an inclusion index score of 45% compared to 67% for non-disabled respondents.
  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents agree that “my work is having a negative physical impact on health and mental health”. Mental health worries peak at 40% in Poland. Finland is the best place for mental health, with just 17% citing it as a concern. Brazil is the best place for physical health, with only 18% agreeing that work has a negative impact.

About the 2023 Global DEI Census
The results are based on nearly 13k responses from 91 countries providing a detailed insight into people’s lived experiences from across our industry globally. Responses were completed between March 15 and April 30 via an online questionnaire.