WAMA and ECU’s DEI survey finds 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work

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WAMA and ECU’s DEI survey finds 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work

This week WAMA launched its inaugural report on diversity, equity and inclusion in conjunction with ECU. Titled “A Way to Go”, the groundbreaking report provides rich insight into the state of diversity and inclusion in the Western Australian marketing and commercially creative industries. 573 marketers were surveyed, with most agreeing that diversity and inclusion is important and should be a business priority – yet the discrimination and exclusion experienced are still substantial.


With stats such as 3 in 10 agency workers feeling they aren’t treated with respect, Mel Wiese, National Chief Strategy Officer at VML, said: “It’s a pretty sobering baseline. We all have some basics to work on here, and fundamentally we need to understand that the science is in on diversity, inclusion and psychological safety creating happier, higher-performing teams.

“The first step is ego-at-the-door, drop-your-defences listening to what people really need from us as leaders. The next is perhaps sharing resources and what’s working, rather than seeing an inclusive workplace as a source of differentiation. The collective enemy is the haemorrhage of talent who expect and deserve better, from industries that have already got the memo.”

The report is the first of its kind in WA. It represents a significant first step in a conversation and journey that needs to be ongoing, with only 42% of those who experienced discrimination formally reporting their experiences.

While there are numerous marketing-focused DEI surveys and reports, WA represents its own unique ecosystem, and with it, an opportunity to take a leading role in DEI best practices. There are no silver bullets and given the systemic issues in marketing industries globally, it’s a vital piece of work that WAMA and ECU have undertaken.

Tess Palmyre, DEI Lead at WAMA shared why this was so important to the team, and more importantly the WA marketing community.

Palmyre said: “In the last Census, WA had the highest proportion of people born overseas in the country, at 34 percent. Nationally, half of us have an overseas-born parent, around one in five live with disability, and an estimated 11 percent identify as part of the LGBTQA+ community.

“Our industry does not reflect this rich diversity and, for the small percentage of marketers from underrepresented groups, it can be a challenging experience to navigate a career in this environment. We have the privilege of doing work that reflects or shapes the world around us, and we are missing the diverse voices and perspectives we need to do justice to this work.”

The report makes seven key recommendations with a call out for a long-term authentic commitment to inclusive workplaces instead of tick box policies and initiatives.

ECU, Chief Investigator, Melissa Fong-Emmerson, said: “The study provides data-driven research for the industry to drive tangible improvements and take meaningful action. It exemplifies the immense value of research contributions that provide critical insight into the real-world challenges facing communities. This is an example of how partnerships between industry and academia can yield impactful, meaningful outcomes.”

While some sobering insights have emerged, the work presents an opportunity for industry leaders to face the research head on and take considered action towards real change. The report provides a critical benchmark for WA marketers to measure ongoing improvement over time.

There is a noticeable desire for change within the industry to support workplace inclusivity – it’s time that we all lean in.

Download the WA Marketing DEI Report.

* This report is essential reading for anyone in the WA marketing industry, and with WAMA currently building out its DEI task force, anyone interested in playing a role should get in touch.

Click here to view the pictures from the launch event.

WAMA and ECU’s DEI survey finds 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work WAMA and ECU’s DEI survey finds 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work WAMA and ECU’s DEI survey finds 1 in 4 WA marketers experience discrimination at work