If your agency is not diverse, these are some reasons why:

• Internships (either hosting interns, or using internships as a prerequisite)

• Degree requirements (either mandating a degree, or hiring based on any unrelated degree just for the sake of having one)

• Only young, white recruiters (especially those without bias training)

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Also bias in recruitment and interviewing. We tend to like people that look like ourselves. You have to be very deliberate to give diverse candidates an equal chance and make it part of the requirements for candidates you interview, and ensure your unconscious bias isn’t present in your decision making

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I don’t think #1 is inherently the problem (outside of when it is unpaid or becomes a prerequisite), it’s just that #2-3 affect who gets internships.

#3 is the worst offender. Just look at all the recruiters during a pandemic saying every creative trying to break in has no excuse to not have a personal project. No excuse? Who’s risking Covid to bag your groceries, Becky? How many hours is the food delivery guy working, Tracey? And one thing I don’t think anyone has mentioned is that a personal project by a POC may not seem “cool” enough for a recruiter who probably would find some shitty side project by some white couple involving emo band T shirts and cats good.

Seriously, stop getting teenie boppers from the midwest to gatekeep your agencies. You are missing out on some wonderful talent out there. Even some white folk who aren’t typical or seen as “cool” by these types get shut out.

Also stop requiring a degree. Even some ad schools require one. The fuck is that? Let them in so they can learn a trade and build their network.

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#1 is certainly problem, probably the most *surprising* to some, and that’s why I put it there.

Internships are typically university or ad school students. This higher learning is unaffordable to many.

Internships are often unpaid or have a very small stipend. This means that only people above a certain means with familial support are even able to afford being an intern.

Then, using internships to influence entry-level hiring keeps the whole thing even more insular, raising the barrier even higher.

Anyone that thinks internships are not a barrier, take a good hard look around at your agency.

How do you replace internships? How about a thorough interview. A copy test or an art test. How about hiring someone as a freelancer for a week, see how they do, then bring them aboard. How about hiring a truly entry-level junior, and treat them like an apprentice, instead of requiring juniors to have internship experience.

If you want progress, you have to start doing things differently.

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I know it's a subset of #2, but the costs of portfolio schools relative to other trade programs is a massive contributor.

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I just got laid of and was the only white woman in an agency with more than 600 employees.
Least diverse agency I’ve ever worked at...!
*not in the us

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😳

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