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News 1 Dec 2021 - 3 min read

One in five media agency staff have experienced bias, but industry DE&I metrics improving: MFA & Media i study

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Senior Writer
Media Federation of Australia's Linda Wong

"We believe measuring what matters is a critical element to driving change and improvement, and this is just the start of our journey in making our industry more diverse, equitable and inclusive," MFA Head of People Linda Wong (above) says.

Media agencies should employ more First Nations people and despite improvements are still way off the mark on employing people with disabilities and special needs, according to the annual MFA DE&I survey based on Media i data, but there were positives on other fronts. And the diversity, equity and inclusion landscape has improved compared to last year.

What you need to know:

  • The Media Federation of Australia (MFA) has released its second annual Diversity, Equity & Inclusion survey, finding the industry is ahead in some areas but well behind in others.
  • The survey is a tool used by media agencies to benchmark their progress against competitors in the market.

The Media Federation of Australia has released the results of its second annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey, finding the industry is ahead in some metrics but lagging in others.

The study, conducted in partnership with Media i (publisher of Mi3), shows 43 per cent of 2,203 media agency employees surveyed have non-Australian cultural background, including 24 per cent North European, 12 per cent Southern and Eastern European, 17 per cent Asian and 4 per cent New Zealanders. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents speak another language, compared to 21 per cent of the general population.

But there were only 0.3 per cent First Nations people and 4.3 per cent with a diagnosed disability or special need, versus 17 per cent of the general population. This was, however, a more than 300 per cent increase on last year’s 1.2 per cent response.

The survey is a benchmark for agencies to see where they sit compared to the rest of the industry. In the area of inclusion, 94 per cent of people said they felt included and that they belong, and 97 per cent felt supported and safe to be themselves at work; 20 per cent of people had experienced some sort of bias.

Women represented 45 per cent of C-suite roles, compared to just 32.5 per cent of the Australian workplace, and 10 per cent of those surveyed were members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The MFA’s Head of People, Linda Wong, said: “The results are shared with agencies so they can benchmark where they sit versus the rest of the industry, and to identify areas for improvement.”

The MFA will launch its Media for All DE&I strategy at the MFA EX conference in Sydney and Melbourne in February next year.

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