Nearly three-quarters of people working in the UK advertising industry are aged 44 and under, according to new research.
Of 16,000 respondents, the largest-ever survey of the UK advertising industry, results show that people from the two age brackets of 25-34 and 35-44 years make up the vast majority of the workforce. This compares with just under half of the UK working population falling into either of these brackets.
As a result, an industry-wide Action Plan has been set up to address anti-ageism within the workforce, and for greater representation of a diverse range of ages in advertising campaigns.
Called the All In census, the survey was launched by the Advertising Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the ISBA on 10 March 2021 to improve inclusion in the industry.
In addition to this, Channel 4 has investigated ageism in television adverts.
With YouGov, it commissioned independent research called Mirror on the Industry.
“We were established in order to ‘stand up for diversity and champion unheard voices’, meaning that this is at the heart of everything we do,” said a spokesperson for Channel 4.
The research found that only 29 per cent of television adverts feature people over the age of 50 and just 12 per cent of these characters are in lead roles.
Women are less likely than men to be portrayed as older characters and the research indicates that fifty-plus female characters are more likely to be stereotyped.
In response to this, Channel 4 has announced that its annual Diversity in Advertising Award will this year focus on ageism. The UK’s youngest-skewing broadcaster is offering £1m of commercial advertising airtime, plus a bespoke social media campaign worth £100k.
The Awards are calling for brands to modernise representation of all age groups – from young to old – in a non-stereotypical way, whilst also demonstrating intersectionality of age with gender, sexuality, disability, or ethnicity.
Previous winning campaigns have focussed on disability (Maltesers), mental health (Lloyds Bank), the portrayal of women in the media (RAF), the lack of representation and stereotyping of the LGBTQ+ community (Starbucks), and Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Culture (EA Sports).
Competition entries must be submitted by 4pm on 26th August. The winner and runners up will be announced in October with the campaign airing on Channel 4 in early 2022. To enter, go to: www.4sales.com/diversityaward
The advertising industry’s All In Census also addressed other issues in the advertising industry including the retention of Black talent, the improvement of the experience of disabled people in the advertising workforce and greater working-class representation and from those who attended state rather than private school.
The All In Census aimed to bring together the entire UK advertising industry on one day to share experiences of the workplace. More than 10,000 responses were received on 10 March.
The census took into account responses from creative, media and marketing agencies, advertisers, media owners, tech platforms and production companies. Organisations that participated include C4, Dentsu, Facebook, Global, Google, ITV, Omnicom Media, Publicis Groupe, P&G and WPP as well as major industry trade bodies such as IAB, DMA, NMA and PPA cascading to their members.
The survey has inspired international research, with the industry trade bodies of 22 countries taking part.
“Currently, £6 billion is spent globally on DE&I initiatives and yet progress is relatively slow,” said Sharon Lloyd Barnes, Commercial Director of the Advertising Association.
“We believe that by changing our workplace, we not only ensure that more people feel they belong and have an opportunity to progress in their career, but the work we create will more authentically represent the diverse society we serve.”
Caroline Dineage, Minister for Digital & Culture, DCMS, says: “The All In Census marks a pivotal moment in improving representation across the advertising landscape. We now have some powerful data from which we can benchmark progress.”