Terrible, mediocre and not great are words no creative director wants to hear in response to their big idea, and these are also words no CEO, HR manager or any other ad industry executive or employee should be comfortable with when people with disabilities describe an agency working environment. But that’s just what happened in recently shared findings from and industry employment survey conducted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. For employees with disabilities 17 percent of those surveyed agree the industry is terrible at providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities (compared to white males), and 29 percent felt it’s not great and 28 percent said it’s mediocre.
“Madison Avenue is full of blue-bloods.” This was the blanket description of the industry’s leaders that a friend provided when I shared that I was going into advertising. Within venerable, established Madison Avenue agencies, an Ivy League diploma, New England upbringing and WASP background helped… and being a minority didn’t. Although never directly discriminated against, it was obvious to see (even for someone more than half blind) that hiring challenges permeated the industry. For the disabled minority, it seemed that ad industry culture fostered a silent segregation in which few advertisers embraced inclusion and fewer agencies integrated diversity. Continue reading