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Pushing for Equality and Diversity Within a Creative Company

3 min read
Product Marketer at Hike

How the UK’s creative industries can benefit from having more inclusive teams

Diversity is front of mind for many companies right now. Sparked by protests and unrest in the United States, the fight for racial equality has become just as fervent in the UK. No business sector is immune from the discussion and that includes creative industries.

Across the UK, the diversity statistics in creative fields paint a bleak picture. A 2017 report from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) showed that 88.8% of creative jobs were filled by white employees. 63% of them were filled by men. In museums, galleries, and libraries, only 3% of employees were from a non-white ethnic background. In design, advertising and marketing, and architecture, that number is only slightly higher at 7%; it stands at 8% in publishing.

There’s a clear need for a more diverse workforce, and if these industries can achieve it, they only stand to gain.

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The advantages of diverse teams

Diversity benefits everyone involved. Companies gain access to a variety of different perspectives. Those perspectives lead to higher levels of creativity and innovation, and they boost profits. Diverse teams produce 19% more revenue than more homogenous teams.

A diverse workforce is also better equipped to thrive in uncertain circumstances and can make better decisions in less time. And overall, more inclusive workplaces have better reputations than their less diverse peers. By all counts, focusing on diversity can only improve a company. But building an inclusive coalition of talent requires a multi-pronged approach.

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How to push for more diversity in your organisation

Diversifying a creative agency team is about analysing your current hiring process and completely rewriting the rules:

  • Conduct an honest assessment of where you are: How many people of colour, women, and differently abled people are on staff? Where are you recruiting candidates from? Who’s involved in that process? Train your lens on every hiring action to understand where you’ve gone wrong and where you have the most potential to make adjustments.
  • Post your open jobs to the right job boards: You’ll need to advertise opportunities in places where minority audiences are most likely to see them and also where you can emphasise equality and diversity within your company. In your ads and promotional materials, you should use images that show a diverse workforce. You also want to ensure that all candidates have fair access to interviews or online assessments. For example, if you’re hosting a table at a career fair, make sure the venue is accessible for differently abled candidates in wheelchairs.
  • Think about the colleges, universities, and communities you’re recruiting from: Are you going into spaces where you’re likely to find diverse candidates? Also, have you created initiatives like internships or apprenticeships that could give diverse candidates access to your organisation?
  • Try using blind applications: These are applications that don’t have identifying demographic information like name, gender, or age. The HR team reviewing each candidate will use nothing but work experience to judge if they’re qualified. This could remove a lot of bias from the screening stage.
  • Be sure to include diverse staff members on your interview panels: This ensures that a single person’s or single group’s biases aren’t influencing the entire interview process.

And still, your work continues once you’ve brought diverse candidates onboard. Keep the channels of communication open so these team members feel welcome and can voice concerns as they arise. Also, invest time in helping your existing employees understand the true value of diversity and how it can help the organisation improve.

Diversity fosters a more innovative, productive, and inclusive workplace. Thus, it should be a primary focus for all creative companies. Those in positions of power must understand that it’s time for a bold, new approach to conducting business.

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