NYC Agencies Subpoenaed For Diversity Probe During Ad Week


The Human Rights Commission has subpoenaed 16 executives at New York agencies to probe their supposedly poor history of hiring black people at public hearings during Advertising Week September 25 through September 29. A nifty strategy by the Human Rights Commission but one question that doesn't seem to have been addressed publicly surrounding this issue is how many black people actually want to work for an ad agency. Currently, in the 16 agencies the Commission is looking into, nine percent of employees are black. In New York, blacks represent 25 percent of the population. It's the gap between Nine and 25 that have critics steamed.

Perhaps the probe will reveal whether the lack of black employed in ad agencies is deliberate or whether it's just a representation of how many African Americans have an interest in advertising. Certainly, things could be done to at least make those other than white country club boys aware of advertising as a possible career path through job fairs and other forms of outreach. But all that should really matter is finding really smart, really creative people no matter what color they are.

by Steve Hall    Jun-12-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Policy   

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Wonder what would happen if they probed Connecticut ad agencies, or the midwest for that matter.

Posted by: Edward on June 12, 2006 1:41 PM

Try probing agencies in the South and Southeast - lily white

Posted by: Bevo on June 12, 2006 2:26 PM

How about looking at the percentage of miniority students in advertising related studies?

Posted by: Anonymous on June 12, 2006 3:01 PM

this doesn't make any sense to me. Even though these agencies are based in NY, their "market" for talent is a national one (or arguably even an international one), not a local one. As such, the demographic makeup of a NY-based ad agency should reflect national averages, not local NY averages...

Posted by: matt on June 12, 2006 3:17 PM

Minorities are sent to "Negro League" agencies like Spike Lee's or Hispanic agencies. Advertising people here are not too comfortable working with minorities. This is a problem seen only in the U.S. I've seen Latin Americans and blacks working in ad agencies throughout industrialized countries. Now women in creative departments is another story. They're MIA in most of the world.

Posted by: anonymous on June 12, 2006 4:24 PM

Don't blame the midwest. I'm in Chicago and there are more minorities working in this agency than any I've seen in New York.

Posted by: YakeesOnly on June 12, 2006 4:27 PM

Bull. After the hearings NYC ad agencies will probe we employ lots of minorities. In my agency all janitors, mail people and food delivery guys are all minorities. You tell me how any agency can operate without their contribution.

Posted by: Bruce on June 12, 2006 4:51 PM

I've worked at three agencies, two in NYC and one in the midwest. At all three, I've been The Black or The Other Black in Account Management. On occassion, I've been solicited to help my non-Black peers to sell Black products from liquor to lotion.
It is disheartening, frustrating and annoying, almost as much as it was at my Top Midwest Private High School and my Top NYC University. I thought about going to Spike Lee's Joint, but I did not want to be pigeon-holed as a minority marketer. Its a shame that more isn't done to diversify, and that is why I volunteer for the Torch Program ( which reaches out to minority youth in high school and exposes them to career options in communications.

Posted by: AB on June 12, 2006 6:32 PM

Posted by: David Wen on June 12, 2006 10:27 PM

(Those are some perspectives on the whole white Madison Avenue situation)

Posted by: David Wen on June 13, 2006 6:57 PM

Ok I'm gong to start a fight with the HRC boys because I want to see more white hair in the Madison Avenue play rooms. Boy am I happy I live in a flyover state. In reality in the midwest I spend a couple of days a year being a judge for the state DECA kids in Sports Entertainment Marketing and I see a few minority kids come through and a few of them are pretty good. The same for the college classes I talk to. The problem is that word "FEW."

Posted by: Roy on June 14, 2006 9:18 AM

They dont want to pay the money that's why they cant get the top black talent. I came out of college and came to new york. I had my own agency while in college and wanted to get some experience working for the greats.....they said 29,000 plus overtime in nyc! I work for a finance company now nuff said....

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