Ireland’s ‘adland’ makes fresh push for diversity

New IAPI president Jimmy Murphy says advertising needs to do better on age and gender

IAPI president Jimmy Murphy, director of Publicis Dublin. Photograph: Jason Clarke.

IAPI president Jimmy Murphy, director of Publicis Dublin. Photograph: Jason Clarke.

 

Advertising in Ireland is “a very homogeneous industry” and needs to do more to reflect the diversity of the population, according to the new president of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI).

Jimmy Murphy, a director of creative agency Publicis Dublin, said the industry needed to improve its record on gender balance at senior levels and tackle unconscious bias against older advertising professionals.

“The industry also tends to be south Dublin-educated white people, so we need to address that,” Mr Murphy said. “I think we can do a lot.”

IAPI itself, under chief executive Tania Banotti, is leading by example on gender balance. Charlotte Barker, deputy managing director at Dynamo, and Mediaworks deputy managing director Fiona Field, recently joined its board, bringing its number of female members to five out of 11.

Ms Barker, alongside Mr Murphy, will now lead a fresh push on diversity and gender balance in an industry where 52 per cent of the employees in member agencies are female, but where women hold just 20 per cent of senior roles.

That proportion has improved since 2013, when it was just 13 per cent, but still compares unfavourably to gender balance in the UK advertising industry where the equivalent figure is 27 per cent.

“People will say, ‘look at our agency, half the people are female’ or ‘the entire client service department is female’ and yes, it might be, but when you get to board level, that is not the case,” Mr Murphy said.

Issues such as paid maternity leave “was a problem in our industry for some time” but is improving: Some 81 per cent of Irish agencies have it in place, according to the most recent IAPI “census” of its members.

‘Startlingly young’

IAPI has previously highlighted the “startlingly young” nature of the industry, with only 6 per cent of the more than 1,800 people who work for member agencies over the age of 51.

This is partly a result of people leaving the industry during the recession and not returning, but there is also “unconscious bias” at play, according to the IAPI president.

“Adland” faces broad challenges on the talent pipeline front and improving the industry’s links with the education sector is another of Mr Murphy’s objectives.

Data analysis, in particular, is an in-demand skill and there is a sense that advertising is losing out to other industries when it comes to hiring.

The commercial environment for advertising agencies is looking “a whole lot better” now after a painful recession,” Mr Murphy said.

Fees are starting to nudge up for creative agencies, having plunged as much as 30 per cent in 2011. “But in general, the margins are still too tight and that’s something we will be working on,” he said.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.