Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has recently become one of the most trending topics in the media and entertainment industry. But embracing diversity isn’t only about doing the right thing.
Analysis shows that ethics and profits are two sides of the same coin. There’s financial logic to making sure that content–and those who create it–are authentically and inclusively representative of today’s society.
A new report from the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Accenture, “Reflecting Society: The State of Diverse Representation in Media and Entertainment” shows where the industry is making progress and what more needs to be done. The scope of this wide-ranging report, the first to look across industry sectors and identities, is international although it is worth noting that much of the existing research and data available today comes out of the US.
A greater emphasis on DE&I not only lands well with consumers, but also increases the diversity of talent, which can lead to more representative storytelling.
To address these issues, many brands and advertisers are seeking greater diversity in their workforce and are looking to their agencies to provide it, with clear policies to support that goal. These initiatives create a virtuous circle where diverse content attracts diverse creators who, in turn, create more diverse content. For example, when Beenox and Raven Software added more gender options to their “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War” game, they reported an increase in the gender diversity of applicants for creative roles.
Meanwhile, behind the camera, initiatives by organizations such as the Los Angeles Urban League address lack of diversity in film and TV production by offering apprenticeships to those from under-represented communities. In much the same way, Verizon’s Ad Fellows program helps encourage diversity at ad agencies and has a 94% job placement rate for those attending the program.
Elsewhere, UK broadcaster ITV created ‘Step Up 60’ to help accelerate the career progression of more than 60 underrepresented employees by enabling them to temporarily ‘step up’ to senior roles. Global ad group Edelman achieved its goal of having 50% of leadership positions filled by women by 2020, and has pledged to have a racial/ethnic workplace diversity ratio of 30% in the US by 2022 – a target that it is on track to achieve.
What’s the World Economic Forum doing about diversity, equity and inclusion?
These issues are at the heart of the World Economic Forum’s newly convened Power of Media Taskforce on DE&I. The taskforce brings together companies, industry bodies, and leading non-profits in DE&I advocacy to drive transparency and action and build community. It will initially focus on three key areas:
The taskforce will highlight DE&I progress through the voice of the audience and will be driven by its members to adopt leading practices and new cross-industry initiatives for content and creative production. Together, we can ensure that content and storytellers are representative of the stories being told, and take meaningful actions and investments that advance equitable representation in society.
This content was originally published here.