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Our last blog post talked about diversity and why it is so important. This week we are diving into how you can improve your diversity through clever recruiting.   Having different perspectives and backgrounds in your team will contribute to new and more diverse ideas. This helps to drive innovation in your company. The development of a diversity recruitment strategy is one way to do this. On top of this, it is our belief that all companies should be striving for diversity regardless of business benefits. Building teams from qualified candidates regardless of their gender, orientation, race, religion, socioeconomic background, or disability is long overdue, and a step toward true equality in the workplace.  We recommend doing a diversity audit initially to see where you need to focus your efforts. You will probably find your HR department holds a lot of relevant information. However, an anonymous survey can be an invaluable tool for collecting information on diversity. Let your employees know you are working to improve your diversity and need their help to build a diversity recruitment strategy. You can quickly and easily create anonymous online surveys using tools such as SurveyMonkey

 Spend time Auditing Job Ads 

As an extension of the diversity audit of your company as a whole, you should spend time doing an audit of your previous job advertisements. Two main areas to consider are: 
  • Language use: It is important to find ways to be more inclusive in your language to appeal to candidates from different backgrounds. Many advertisements have language geared toward a certain demographic which inadvertently excludes others. 
  • Qualification criteria: Consider less focus on specific degrees or schools and instead, concentrate on competencies. For example, critical thinking, or the ability to work as part of a diverse team.  
When it comes to writing new ads, slow down and be methodical in your approach.  Take time to think and strategize over the design. Try to use gender neutral terms and identify skills that are not currently present in your organization, and include new criteria to attract a different set of candidates.   

Reduce Unconscious Bias with Blind Recruiting 

Blind hiring allows you to gear all your vacancies toward unbiased processes from the very start of your recruitment process. By intentionally removing any details that can give the reader insight into the applicant's background, you can screen the applications on job-related issues only thereby reducing bias.  CVs are edited to include only skills, and job-relevant experience and abilities. For example, age bias can be avoided by removing graduation dates and dates of previous employment and years of experience (as long as they are not relevant). All you need to include is what type of qualifications candidates have and how they rate themselves in the skills you set out in your advert. Try asking for them to rate experience as basic, intermediate, or expert for example.  You could use screening tests to help remove unconscious bias like geographic, education, affinity or gender biases.  

Agencies Can Help Improve Your Diversity 

Another thing you need is a diverse talent pool to source candidates from. Focussing on only the sources that you know best can result in a talent pool of similar candidates and a lack of diversity. So, how can you make sure you are casting the net as wide as possible?
  • Consider using a recruitment agency. With their own pool of people each with their own candidates sing an agency can really help you with your outreach.
  • Source your candidates from a variety of different places.
  • Think about including internships to candidates from specific backgrounds.

Use Your Existing Employees' Networks

Try reaching out to some of the employees on your team who might be part of the demographic you are looking to hire. You can encourage them to share job advertisements with their networks and make sure you support them and provide them with the tools to promote your company properly. This approach is great for company culture and makes employees and candidates feel valued. Creating a diverse referral program is a great way to boost your diversity recruitment strategy.

There’s No Reason You Can't Improve Your Diversity 

 In short, there is no excuse. From both a business perspective and a moral one you need to be taking steps to make sure you have a diverse and inclusive working environment.  As a creative agency it can propel your innovation and problem solving to new heights as well as making you and your product more relatable. Don't fall behind, get ahead of the pack and start today.  

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For a long time, digital industries and media agencies have had a lack of diversity in regard to their employees and senior members. Gender, age and race are the least balanced but this article will also look at LGBQT+ and disabilities to help highlight the problems, progress and areas to work on for a more diverse digital media world.  While stats across all industries showed some improvements in these areas over the last decade, unfortunately, and especially in media agencies, this progress was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with stats showing a drop across all areas. For more information, you can check the IPA 2020 Census. This report suggests the pay gap widened too, as did the number of female employees. However, it would be remiss to ignore the latest findings of the same report. Only a year later we can see some improvement and there are some encouraging findings: 

  • More individuals from a non-white background are holding senior positions, as well as an increase in those holding entry-level and junior roles.
  • There has been an increase, albeit a marginal one, of women holding senior roles in media agencies.
There is still a lack of diversity in the UK digital media sector. This is evident from the significant gender and ethnicity pay gaps. There has been little improvement in media agencies since 2020. But why are we talking about diversity and inclusion? These are not just buzz words, diversity and inclusion are critical to any media agency's success. (The IPA findings rely on member agencies, so there may be some fluctuation in these statistics)

Why is Diversity Important?

With a team of diverse employees, you will have access to more creativity and wider skill sets. Plus, more diverse ideas for solving business problems, which will help your company grow. Another incredible benefit of diversity in tech is simply having more talent to choose from.  There are different types of diversity, let's look at them here:

Diverse Workforces: Ethnic Diversity

According to data collected by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, a sobering 88.8% of employees in the digital sector are from a white ethnic group. What's more, a study entitled 'Black, Qualified and Unemployed' found that BME individuals who graduated with a first degree were twice as likely to be unemployed than white graduates. 2020 was a year of big change in terms of bringing racial discrimination to the foreground of public opinion. The Black Lives Matter Movement was unlike anything seen in decades and was impossible for businesses to ignore. BAME representation has improved in media and advertising agencies in the last few years, there is still more that can be done. There is so much untapped potential out there. It has been suggested that if individuals from BAME backgrounds were able to reach their full career potential through opportunities and progress in the workplace they would add 24 billion to the UK economy with  the most diverse companies over 30% more likely to have higher earnings. If you are interested in hearing more, BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) are pushing for more initiatives and accountability around improving diversity. They believe that a diversity index with baseline diversity stats would help everyone to set targets and see how much further it is for the UK sector to go. Head to their website for more information.

Diverse Workforces: Gender Diversity

When it comes to gender, women are taking up less than 40% of roles. So we need to ask why. Gender imbalance in digital and tech starts all the way back in the UK primary, secondary and higher education systems. Recent estimates have found that 50,000 girls turn away from STEM subjects every year, despite out-performing boys across STEM subjects.   Some studies suggest this starts with general misinformation about what school subjects can lead to what roles. For example, there are many outdated preconceptions around STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and careers. But we should not forget that non-STEM subjects can lead to digital roles too. Digital, media and tech companies can counter this by doing outreach in schools, giving talks and making sure they are involved in communities in some way. Schools should be communicating career opportunities and pathways to all students.  There is still an image of STEM subjects and digital jobs being more masculine which is not helped in male-dominated classrooms and workspaces. Combined with a lack of support, from those teachers or parents who don't understand tech and digital, this can lead to a lack of confidence which sees women perhaps not going for careers they want.

 Diverse Workforces: Ageism And Diversity

There is an age divide in the media, advertising and digital industries. It appears the under 25s and over 55s are affected the most. A report from 2020 found that only 7% of those employed by agencies were under 25 and only 6% were over 50. With an average age of 34 in most media agencies, what causes this and what can be done to counter it? The truth is, with a wide age range of employees, you will be able to successfully talk to more consumers, something which is particularly important in the media advertising industries. If creativity and communication is the goal, creating a multi-generational environment can help fuel better solutions. "More than 500% of budgets are targeted at millennials; yet consumers 55+ spend more than double the 18-34s." - Annalie Killian, Sparks & Honey, from this article in The Drum, reminding us that the older generations have more money to spend, so perhaps it is time fore a shift in focus.

 Diverse Workforces: LGBTQ+ Representation

This is a more positive section of this article, the All In census found the number of employees identifying at LGBTQIA+ is significantly higher in media advertising agencies than the UK population average. The UK average is 3% whereas 10% of those working in agencies identify as LGBTQIA+. However, this census did find that almost 40% of those who identified as LGBTQIA+ felt under-represented at senior levels, compared with only 23% of heterosexual employees.  It would be important to examine the reasons why this could be the case in your agency, and be sure to encourage all co-workers to apply for promotions and senior roles regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Diverse Workforces: Disability

When we think about diversity and inclusion, too often the disabled community is excluded. Research by The Valuable 500 found that out of all the articles discussing diversity published in 2019 and 2020, only three percent referenced disabilities. So, while there is a big conversation around other aspects of diversity, this is one community who are continually side-lined. People with disabilities are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the world including more than 750 million individuals. Disability inclusion significantly widens the talent pool. Moreover, companies that excel at disability employment and inclusion are likely to experience higher revenue, higher net income, higher economic profit margins and an increased likelihood of outperforming their peers. A related point, taken from another blog post on disability diversity that should encourage all of us to care more about this issue is this: Unlike the other diversity types mentioned in this article, a disability can be developed at any point during your life. You can become disabled at any time so equity and inclusion should be important to all. 

Diversity And Inclusion Mean Success

In short, being inclusive of gender, age, disability, race and LGBQT+ will give your company a diverse and representative workforce. What this means is that your output will likely be better for your consumer. Bringing as many different ideas and perspectives to the digital table is paramount to inclusive, supportive workplaces and brilliant products/services that are built with all users in mind.  Having more diverse teams at every level of development in a digital company means that end products and services can better reflect users and wider society. Creating products free of bias and prejudice cannot be achieved without a diverse creating team. 

What Can We Do To Be More Diverse?

Within your company, you can make every day, micro-level changes. If we use gender diversity s the example here, you could think about preventing a male-centric groupthink, or encouraging a female colleague to go for a senior position. Something as simple as making space to listen to the concerns of women in the workplace can help to build a respectful, comfortable environment.  People from different countries, cultures, religions, genders, sexual orientation, ages and so on must embrace such diversity – not just tolerate it. They need to seek out the opinions of people who may seem foreign to them and think differently from them. They need to bring them into the tents of strategy-making, business process redesign, business model revolution, and skill building.  That’s the inclusion part of diversity, and it’s just as important as having a multitude of very different people from very different walks of life.  Digital companies have to take the initiative and become pro-active when it comes to diversity. New initiatives nationally and regionally are worth engaging with, as well as looking at your recruitment policies and diversity and inclusion training for current employees. Blind hiring and unconscious bias training for all staff is a great way to start your journey to a truly diverse company.  Policies and procedures in the workplace to support diversity, create comfortable workplaces and ensure employees don’t drop out are all well and good but starting at an earlier stage, before candidates get to the workplace is important too. Think about talking to your recruitment agency next time you are hiring.   For more blog posts about media agencies, jobseeking and roles, head to dotgap now. 

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Most employers understand the importance of hiring great candidates. They know that the right candidate will help to improve their business, and they understand that if someone is a good fit they are more likely to stay with the company for a long time. However now is a difficult time to hire; a recent study found that UK job adverts are at a record high in the build-up to Christmas, so it is harder than ever to find the best employees. Thankfully it is still possible to find high quality employees who are compatible with your business; you just need to make sure that your business appeals to these candidates. Here are three tips to help you attract the best digital marketing talent.  

1. How Employers Can Attract The Best Digital Marketing Talent: Think About Your Branding

One of the easiest ways to increase the quality of job candidates is by including clear branding. This doesn’t mean you need to use your logo or the company colours; instead you should focus on the values of your brand. Is your company known for being innovative and out of the box, or are you more traditional? Are you known for working with global giants, or do you normally work with small start-ups? This information will make it easier for you to attract likeminded individuals who see themselves in your brand. This means they are more likely to be a good fit (and they are also more likely to stay with the company for a long time!).  

2. Cultivate A Strong Social Media Presence

You may not think that your social media presence is linked to finding job candidates – but it certainly can be. After all, nearly four billion people use social media (in fact, there are over 1 billion people on Instagram alone!), which makes it one of the best places to advertise online. So make sure you have professional, active social media pages that your target audience (potential employees) can find. Then potential employees can follow you online, which means they are more likely to see job opportunities (or they may even send their CV in when you don’t have vacancies).  

3. Create Engaging Job Adverts

Finally it is important to create an engaging job advert. Include a detailed job description, be clear and articulate when you are describing your ideal candidate, and make sure your company description helps you to stand out from the crowd. This means you are less likely to interview incompatible candidates who don’t have the right skills or attitude.

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We would love to hear from you if you are either looking for a new job in the digital media industry or if you are looking to find talent and hire people from the digital media industry.

We work mainly with media agencies, advertisers, media owners, marketing agencies. technology companies and creative agencies.

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