Overcoming obstacles

Apr 12, 2021

The journey to a stronger, more diverse workforce

The results are in from the CMA’s inaugural survey on talent. Here is my take on some of the findings.

A strong majority of marketers generally believe that their companies are making efforts to develop a diverse staff. Yet, close to half believe that people from BIPOC communities are not rising to the most senior positions. 

That is obviously a problem worth solving. Some believe that there is a supply problem, at least for more senior positions. Others are unsure how to draw a diverse talent group to their company. 

Mehdi Rahman, an experienced HR executive who co-chairs our CMA Working Group on Marketing Talent, says it this way: “It’s really about a lack of initiative. We also know that until we show diverse representation throughout the marketing ranks, the future of marketing will not look much different.”

As marketers, we are all familiar with the notion of drawing people into a funnel through awareness, consideration and intent, to purchase and retention. We know how to market to customers, right? We need to apply these techniques to attract a range of employees. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s good for business.

Getting diverse talent in the door is one thing. Ensuring they are included, engaged, empowered and mentored to share their perspectives is the next critical step.  

While marketers all see the value in diversity and inclusion, their perceptions of their own workplaces vary based on their lived experiences. For example, people from minority groups are much more aware when staff from diverse backgrounds are being talked down to or ignored in meetings. Close to half have heard racial, ethnic and gender-based jokes at work. 

The result? Less engagement, less informed decisions, and weakened business outcomes. It’s that simple.    

Clearly, there is work to do. Putting a stop to insensitive remarks is the easier part. Setting new expectations for meetings to be inclusive and make use of all the talent in the room doesn’t seem that tough either. Sometimes, this will mean encouraging some conversations and putting the brakes on others.

I hope you will join us at our CMAtalent event on Wednesday, where a panel of experts will discuss the research findings in more detail.

If you have some thoughts about building a stronger, more diverse workforce, or if you want to help the CMA with its initiatives in this area, please drop me a line.

profile picture

John Wiltshire

President & CEO Canadian Marketing Association




Major Sponsors

  • BMO-800x450
  • canada-post_2022
  • CIBC-800x450
  • Environics Analytics
  • Microsoft-2023

Featured Member