Data Drives Progress

Data Drives Progress and our Industry is Uniquely Positioned

Cracking the code on diversity and inclusion within companies can be a daunting task. Taking it on as an industry would seem nearly impossible. However, our industry has been tracking D&I metrics consistently for over I 0 years. Many companies have tracked this type of information, but it is unique that one industry comes together to track this data and focus on developing metrics-driven objectives and solutions.

The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) have both taken a deep dive into the measurement of recruitment, hiring, retention, advancement and pay equity for people of color and women in media and entertainment since 1999 and 2003 respectively. The most recent iteration of their biennial research, conducted in collaboration with Mercer, and underwritten by the Walter Kaitz Foundation, was previewed during Diversity Week in New York this September.

The two organizations teamed up to present NAMIC’s AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) survey and WICT’s PAR (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities, and Resources for Work/Life Integration) Initiative which report workforce demographics by gender and race/ethnicity for a variety of job categories. The initial findings were released in a joint Executive Summary and discussed by a group of industry experts during a Diversity Week panel moderated by award-winning journalist, Suzanne Malveaux.

Organizational Implications
During the conversation, panelists examined one interesting finding which noted that voluntary turnover is higher for both people of color and women. Rhonda Crichlow, SVP, Chief Diversity Officer at Charter Communications, offered that sponsorship is one way to meet that challenge. “Research shows that employees with sponsors are more likely to stay and be satisfied with their career progression,” she said. “However, both people of color and women are significantly under sponsored compared to their peers. In fact, the AIM/PAR survey found that just 30 percent of participating companies offer sponsorship programs for people of color and women. Focusing on sponsorship could be an area of opportunity for our industry.”

Another solution to address the turnover story posited during Diversity Week was the need to reduce the headwinds by creating not only a culture of inclusion, but one of mobility. Young professionals should clearly be able to see an attainable path for promotion within their own companies, including opportunities in different areas of their organizations. Career pathing and mobility are important at all levels. The metrics demonstrate that companies are less diverse the higher up you go, and industry insiders agree the overarching goal is to have diversity at every level of their companies. Progress compelled by data can help drive innovation and increase the bottom line. The metrics are always a good place to start for companies and individual decision-makers to reflect upon and develop effective approaches to improving diversity, equity and inclusion. Tools like the AIM and PAR surveys can help build a roadmap for the future and the Walter Kaitz Foundation is proud to contribute to this valuable research. The full AIM and PAR studies will be published in late 2019 and we recommend taking advantage of this significant industry study.