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Black representivity increases in ad industry

The Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA), which has been conducting annual employment surveys among its member agencies since 1998, reports in its latest survey that there has been a steady and continual growth in black representivity.
In its continued progress in its drive to make the industry more representative of the country's demographics, in what was traditionally a white dominated environment, the results show that:

  • Total Black representivity - 41.6% (1998: 23.3%)
  • Black Top Management - 20.0% (1998: 6.9%)
  • Black Professional/ Management - 33.5% (1998: 13.5%)

Although all key agency functions are positively affected by such representivity growth, it remains a challenge to correct the imbalance of black top management within agencies.

Interestingly, the trend in black female representivity has not increased to the same extent as their male counterparts. Of concern since the inception of the survey, is the low number and flat-line trend of black female top management employees during this period. Consequently, any loss of these employees from the industry to the corporate ladder has an adverse material affect on black female top management representivity statistics.

“We've come a long way, but there‘s still lots of work to be done,” says Odette Roper, CEO of the ACA. “We are still a long way off from where we should be in terms of more accurately reflecting the demographics of the country.”

Roper says that it takes an incredible amount of persistence and self-belief to break into an industry as competitive and challenging as advertising. Having held several senior executive positions in the corporate sector, Roper is no stranger to the challenges facing emerging black women professionals. She has been at the forefront of efforts to create more opportunities for women by initiating educational and awareness campaigns in her capacity as CEO.

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