Media and Advertising: D- Grade for Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent


  • Media and advertising ranks lowest among of 15 industries for retention of multi-cultural summer interns who join our community – fewer than 20% remain after three years.
  • Media and advertising rank toward the bottom among 15 industries for attracting multi-cultural students from the top 30 universities and from colleges with high density of multi-cultural students.
  • The average duration in first-time jobs is only nine-months, compared to 18-months just a decade ago.
  • According to a LinkedIn study, media and advertising employees suffer the lowest morale and have the lowest entry-level salaries among eight industries.

Yes, many media and advertising companies support and help underwrite diversity and inclusion programs – IRTS, IDEA, NY Ad Club, AdColor, She Runs It, Verizon AdFellows, the ANA, 4As and IAB, and more. They deserve credit and support. There are those in our community who devote extraordinary personal effort to advancing gender and multi-cultural diversity and inclusion; they are owed praise and recognition. But they, more than anyone, realize how much of the support they receive is ‘talking the talk’ and not ‘walking the walk.’ As an industry we are failing to attract and retain the diverse multi-cultural talent that will be required to succeed in the future.

This year, through our Summer Intern Experience initiative, MediaVillage launched the 25 Under 25 Program in response to feedback from past year’s multi-cultural summer interns who informed us “they don’t see themselves fitting into the organizations they worked for or a path to success for people like them.” The 1stFive Summer Intern Experience had welcomed more than 250 summer interns working in advertising and media each year for the past four years. The retention rate for diverse young employees who joined us at each year’s event is more than twice the industry average. However, after four years of hosting the 1stFive Summer Intern Experience in partnership with Turner, Horizon Media, and OMD, we were sadly not able to generate sufficient industry support this year to continue the successful and important program.

Our plan was to introduce a job fair, add new speakers and educational components, and reach out to local colleges and through targeted social media to assure a strong representation of multi-cultural candidates. Under MediaVillage’s Jack Myers KnowledgeExchange, we planned to introduce a diversity-focused college-loan relief scholarship program.

We’re not giving up on our community and our shared commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s up to us all to focus on improving our grade from a D-. We will be sharing details on the expanded 25 Under 25 initiative later this year, and have begun soliciting nominations of young emerging talent submitted by media companies, agencies, tech providers, and marketers. We will highlight nominees through profiles at the MediaVillage site and plan to honor recipients at a new industry event next Spring focused on and serving our community’s diverse emerging under-25 leaders. Our emphasis is on talent retention and promoting to college career development offices the inclusive diversity of our community.  We are also expanding the Pop-Up Job Fair model we successfully piloted at the MediaVillage Advancing Diversity Honors induction held last January during CES, where eight companies, organizations and individuals, including Unilever, Ad Council, IAB, IPG, Nielsen and others were honored for “walking the walk” on diversity and inclusion.

At the Advancing Diversity Honors event during next year’s CES, inductees will include P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Budweiser’s Ricardo Marquez, Diego Scotti of Verizon, the NBA’s Pam El, Kat Gordon of the 3% Conference, Madonna Badger of Badger & Winters, Robert Liodice and the ANA, and Alma Ha’Arel of #FreetheBid.  Hold January 9th from 3:30-7:30 during CES for this event. To express your company’s commitment to advancing diversity, please contact to request 25 Under 25 Nomination Forms and sponsor details for the Advancing Diversity Honors event.