Today, we’re publishing data that describes the racial and gender diversity of R/GA’s US population. You can see this data, with commentary, below.
For the most part, the data we’re sharing shows failure: our failure to adequately attract, develop and empower people of color to be part of our community, and to lead. This applies particularly to Black people.
This is why we believe public sharing of data is the first step to change.
First: Accountability, to all the people of color who work at R/GA, and to all the people of color we haven’t yet hired. If we’re going to make actual change, we need additional forces of accountability beyond our own structures. If a lot of people can see where we are, then a lot of people can hold us accountable to where we’re going.
Second: There have been several calls for transparency of data in the advertising and design industries over the last few decades, yet the cloud of secrecy remains. We’re eager to work with any and all industry bodies to create a standardized database of information, so the industry’s progress can be tracked over time.
Third: Relatedly, we compete for talent with technology companies, many of whom are our much respected and longstanding clients. The technology industry, while not without its issues, has already taken this important step. There is no reason that design and advertising should be excused.
Our goal, both now and in the long-term, is racial equity: ensuring everyone at R/GA has access to fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement, regardless of race.
A focus on equity means acknowledging that racism plays an outsized role in all of our lives, and that we don’t all start from the same place.
To borrow a phrase from the women’s rights movement: either white people are far, far, far more talented than people of color, and deserve to occupy the vast majority of the industry’s top jobs — or there’s systemic bias.
Only one of these statements can be true, and it’s the latter.
As Black communities across the world continue their fight to live freely and peacefully, we can no longer accept our complicity in this broken system.
We are extremely clear on the fact that transparency is not a plan in itself. However, rather than plunging straight into a series of pledges, and perpetuating the cycle of words without action, we’re taking the necessary time to listen to our people of color, specifically our Black employees, to develop a strategy that will get us to permanent racial equity. We’re doing this with both urgency, and intention.
R/GA’s purpose is to create a more human future, and this future isn’t going to materialize in leaps and bounds. It’s going to be built every day, when all of us make the decision to show up differently.
We’re just one company, but anyone working in the design and advertising industries has a massive sphere of influence. We all make things that are seen by, and used by, millions of people, and our biases inevitably make themselves felt, subtly or otherwise, in everything we create.
With this in mind, we know that it’s not enough to want to fix systemic racism; or to try to fix it. The damage is too great. We just have to get on and fix it.
On the data itself.
We track three indicators of progress. Who we are, through the racial and gender makeup of our staff; how we feel, through regular engagement surveys designed to understand what sense of belonging our employees feel at R/GA, and how that varies by race and gender; and what’s changing, through our hire and attrition rate.
We’ve included US data as it’s by far the most accurate of our datasets regarding employee diversity. Other regions in which we operate have their own set of guidelines or do not require the collection of this data. We’re working with our leaders in those markets to develop their own strategies for racial equity.
We haven’t included specific numbers for our LGBTQIA+ population, but our plan is to provide this data shortly. Our commitment to racial equity is proudly intersectional, and we will continue to work with all of our LGBTQIA+ employees, of color and white, to ensure that R/GA is a place in which they feel they can be their whole and true selves.
WHO WE ARE.
- High-level employee base by race/ethnicity and gender
What this data tells us is that we’re relatively balanced from a gender perspective, with a roughly 50/50 split between men and women.
Non-binary gender is not currently an option in the HR software we use, but we’re actively working to change this.
From an ethnicity perspective, POC represents a smaller percentage of our total staff.
2. Employee base broken down by race/ethnicity and intersectionality
The upper chart contains a more detailed breakout of ethnicity. Of the 36% POC, 14% of our talent identify as Asian, 10% Hispanic, and 7% Black.
The lower chart represents the intersection of ethnicity and gender. The gender breakout of our white talent is balanced, but begins to skew ever so slightly by ethnicity. Of note: while POC employee counts are lower, the differences here, for the most part, are not statistically significant.
3. Gender representation by seniority
The male skew at more senior levels starts to become apparent in this cut.
4. Race/ethnicity representation by seniority
When we look at ethnicity by seniority, this imbalance becomes especially pronounced.
The major of our executive and senior-level staff identify as white, while POC talent over-index at the junior and mid-level positions.
HOW WE FEEL.
5. Qualitative statements asked of every R/GAer through regular pulse surveys.
While we’re not sharing specifics of this data as we need to update our most recent findings, for the past year, for the first three attributes, we’ve found a majority of us agree that we feel we belong at R/GA.
But as we look at agreement with different aspects of belonging, like equality and advancement opportunities, we started to see significant differences by ethnicity. While these numbers remain concerning, we’re somewhat encouraged by some of the growth we’ve observed in agreement over the last two years.
5. Percentage of Total 2019 Hires by race/ethnicity and gender
60% of our new hires in 2019 were female, above our population average. On the right, 35% of our total hires were POC, slightly below our population average.
We’re hiring more white women, and fewer POC than we currently have on staff.
6. Breakdown of Total 2019 Hires by race/ethnicity and intersectionality
When we look at race/ethnicity in detail, the upper chart is generally consistent with our talent distribution:. 14, 11, 6.%.
The lower chart, intersectionality, indicates we’re hiring more women across most ethnicities.
7. Rolling 12 month Attrition Index (Voluntary)
This shows likelihood to leave R/GA based on our current data.
By gender, women were 3% more likely to attrite, while men were 3% less likely to attrite.
The differences become far more pronounced when we break out POC by ethnicity: you can see our Black employees are 8% more likely to leave.
8. R/GA Ventures
Over the last six years, R/GA Ventures has been an active member of the venture capital and startup ecosystem through our 18 Venture Studios and over 110 startup portfolio investments.
While there’s still work to do, we’ve made a concerted effort to raise visibility and funding opportunities for underrepresented founders to create a more inclusive startup community.