**First phase kicks off with industry-wide census on Dec 1**
Advertising Council Australia (ACA) has today launched Create Space, a new program to inform and accelerate positive and lasting change in how the Australian advertising industry looks, feels and behaves when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
Phase one will see ACA hold Australian advertising’s first-ever industry census – the Create Space Census – on Wednesday 1 December.
Conducted in partnership with global insights agency Kantar, the anonymous census will provide a true representation of the demographics and experiences of professionals across the sector.
It will uniquely combine data on gender identity, social and ethnic backgrounds, mental health and family status with experiences of inclusion at work, revealing strengths, pinpointing gaps and highlighting priorities for focused and immediate action industry-wide.
The results will inform a Create Space report and action plan that will launch in 2022, which will tackle priority areas of inequality and under-representation with actionable steps, supported by industry working groups and a commitment to measuring and reporting on progress every two years.
ACA Board Member and Chair of ACA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Lorraine Jokovic, said that the benefits of a diverse and inclusive sector are well-publicised.
“From talent attraction, to problem-solving capacity, to client selection criteria, we know that diversity and inclusion is essential to our industry’s long-term prosperity but we have lacked the data to quantify the size of the challenge in order to implement strategic change. Create Space will give us the map and the metrics to do so,” she said.
ACA’s National Head of Engagement, Hannah Sturrock, said diversity and inclusion had now moved from a cultural function of human resources to a commercial imperative for agency leaders.
“Our industry’s future depends on the experience of our people, both lived and learned. And now, there is serious competition for strategic and creative talent from brands, platforms and tech startups,” she said.
“To attract and retain the best people, ad agencies must create an environment where all people thrive, feel heard, supported, and safe to do their best work. That can’t be faked or formulated. We’ve all got to commit to create space for others in the industry, and fast, and be prepared to challenge our biases.”
The Create Space Census on December 1 is a completely anonymous online survey that can be completed in 20 minutes. ACA member agencies will be given access to the survey directly to encourage agency employees to take part, but all Australian advertising, media and marketing services professionals are invited to participate by accessing the census at createspacecensus.com.
CEO of ACA Tony Hale, said: “Create Space is a pledge to create space in our diaries to participate in the census, and a promise to create space in conversations, create space in leadership, create space in our work, and create space in our culture for diverse people to enter, grow and belong in our industry.
“Census day is a critical moment for us all. We are asking all those in positions of influence to throw their support behind this initiative and pledge to create space in their team’s diaries on December 1 to encourage everyone to share their experiences and ensure the census’ representation of the industry is accurate.
“To the professionals who work in the industry, be sure to have your say on census day and be part of the change. The more people that participate, the better the data, the clearer the lay of the land, and the easier it will be to pinpoint the areas we must urgently address to make our industry more inclusive and welcoming for all,” he said.