Adland Diversity & Inclusion Index 2021: The region’s most inclusive agencies and policies

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE is proud to unveil the results of its inaugural Adland’s Diversity & Inclusion Index. This year we shortlisted 21 policies from 20 different firms, after intense scrutiny of the submissions.

 The award first came around as we saw conversations around diversity and inclusivity skyrocketing. In the MARKETING-INTERACTIVE newsroom, we also saw a monumental increase in the number of stories pitched to us around adland’s pursuit of culture and the need to make progress around diversity and inclusion policies.

Today, having varying points of view is crucial in helping companies innovate and expand their services. This makes diversity a key hallmark of a progressive organisation with global aspirations. To ready themselves for the future, companies need to attract world-class talent who come from a myriad of locations, ethnic groups and creeds from different parts of the world.

The supporting partner for this year's Adland’s Diversity & Inclusion Index was ManpowerGroup Singapore. Josh Goh, marketing director of ManpowerGroup Singapore, said, “I’m pretty impressed with a handful of entries.  Some of the initiatives are very scalable and there are so many worthy initiatives in these entries.”

He added, “At ManpowerGroup, we believe that meaningful and sustainable employment has the power to change the world. As a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, it is imperative for us to promote mutual respect and understanding between people with different personal situations or backgrounds so that all available talent can grow and reach their human potential.”

When commenting on the submissions, he added that the entries that really stood out were those from agencies that had taken a broader perspective at the issue and seized the opportunity to implement innovative solutions so that their solutions have a greater impact on not just the agency but also the community at large. “They understood that it’s not about policy change but more about changing current mindset, reaffirming the positives and promoting change,” he added.

According to a study done by ManpowerGroup, 69% of employers globally report experiencing some difficultly filling roles due to a lack of skilled talent, with the most impacted regions EMEA (73%) and APAC (72%).

“Employers who are fixated on their biased hiring criteria will find themselves at the losing end of attracting talents. This issue is even more pressing for the advertising world as the industry’s foundation is anchored on creativity and we cannot have that without a rich and diverse pool of talents,” he said. Goh was also of the opinion that in an industry such as advertising, where the core function is to engage the target audience through rich messaging, the agency world and clients need to foster an industry culture where unique life experiences are welcomed, and differences are celebrated. “No other sector has the ability to move the needle as much as the agency world could,” he said.

Judge Shufen Goh, co-founder and principal consultant of R3, an official knowledge partner of the Adland Diversity and Inclusion Index 2021 said, “What the entries showed is that it's really important to start somewhere - no matter how small. Even if it is attempting to answer one question like, how can we help new mothers return to the workplace?”

R3's Goh added that we need more dialogue to undercover what's unique to our situation in the region. It's too easy to adopt issues that might be part of more global agency initiatives and overlook local cultural challenges. The domestic and familial responsibility of women in Southeast Asia is one such example. 

“A DE&I initiative is not about meeting quotas or ticking boxes. Any company that wants to have the best people has to learn to nurture, engage, and retain talent. If a CEO wants a sustainable business, increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion within their company is the smartest thing they can do,” she added.

Click on the logos to read the full initiatives by our winners who have been listed in alphabetical order.

Congratulations to all our finalists and changemakers who made it to the index. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE would also like to thank the ManpowerGroup Singapore and R3 for their support in bringing this initiative to the forefront of the marketing and advertising industry.

“I’d like to thank our partners and fellow judges at ManpowerGroup Singapore and R3 for all their support and going through the entries in detail. We saw some amazing initiatives emerge from both local and international companies. Having varying points of view is crucial in helping companies innovate and expand their services. As one of the leading marketing institutions in Asia, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE knows how important it is today to find the right talent for your companies. Through our Adland’s Diversity & Inclusion Index, we want to recognise and honour all of the companies leading the charge on fostering talent and creating a workforce for the future,” said Rezwana Manjur, editor-in-chief of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

Brought to you by: 

manpower group

r3