In June 2020, as our community of Minneapolis reeled from the murder of George Floyd and our nation faced a racial reckoning, we and many other agencies felt a great responsibility to examine the diversity of our teams and be transparent about the makeup of our organizations. Part of that transparency was publishing data showing in detail how people of color and women were represented at Periscope and across all Quad Agency Solutions (QAS).
The numbers showed we had work to do. We rose to the challenge to #CommitToChange and began a journey together with Quad to create an environment emphasizing not just diversity, but inclusion and equity, in line with our shared values. Over the past year, we have been walking the talk, taking important steps to build a better culture and industry.
While we feel very good about the progress we are making, we are not where we want to be. Our agency does not yet reflect the diversity of the communities and customers we serve.
A look at our updated numbers for 2021 show that we’ve made important strides in some areas but continue to fall short in others. Here’s what we see in our most recent data:
What We’re Feeling Good About
- Across QAS and within Periscope, there are more people of color. From last year to now, the percentage of employees who identify as people of color increased from 16% to 18% at QAS and from 8% to 9% at Periscope.
- The most senior positions at QAS show greater representation, with 45% of director and above positions held by women (compared to 38% last year) and 10% of director and above positions held by people of color (compared to 7% last year).
- At Periscope’s executive level, people of color rose to 10% (compared to 0% last year) and women to 30% (compared to 11% last year).
- Our emphasis on hiring a more diverse team is proving effective, with 28% of new QAS employees and 47% of new Periscope employees identifying as people of color.
Priority Areas for Improvement
- Our gains are encouraging, but overall our numbers are still very low. Across the board, we are working to increase representation of women and people of color.
- Key areas in Periscope’s structure lost both people of color and women over the past year, including account management, production and media. While some of those declines are because employees moved to different positions within the larger QAS group, the fact remains that our work can only be our best work if it is more representative.
- Attracting diverse talent is only the first step in becoming a truly equitable and inclusive workplace. We are committed to growing, managing and nurturing that talent through better internal processes, pay equity, including employee-driven Business Resource Groups that connect people with shared backgrounds, interests and issues, and encourage the growth and development of each member. Within the last year, our employees created U.N.I.T.E. for Black Excellence, and PRIDE for our LGBTQIA+ community and allies.
- Progress does not begin and end with us. We need to do more outside our own walls to develop talented people of color through partnerships with organizations such as The BrandLab and to amplify the important work of nonprofit organizations including Black Men Teach who have a mission to combat racial inequality.
We are better today than we were yesterday, and better than a year ago. Our goal is to keep getting better and to continue on this journey to build a better team and industry. Are we perfect? No. Are we a model for how to do this work? Maybe. Are we fully committed to it? Absolutely, without question. And we are confident that commitment is shared across our organization and is deeply embedded in our values.
Onward. Upward. Together.