A recently published study initiated by a coalition of legal, civil rights
and industry leaders who created the Madison Avenue Project in 2008 in
conjunction with the NAACP highlighted the bias against African-American
professionals in the advertising industry in all areas including pay,
hiring, promotions, assignments and other areas. The study, entitled "Research
Perspectives on Race and Employment in the Advertising Industry,"
racial discrimination is 38 percent worse in the advertising industry than in the overall U.S.
labor market. In addition, the study found that the "discrimination
divide" between the advertising industry and other U.S. industries
is more than twice as bad now than it was 30 years ago.
One of the most surprising statistics highlighted in the report was that
approximately 16% of large advertising firms employ no African-American
managers or professionals, a rate that is 60% higher than in the overall
labor market. It was also found that African-Americans working in the
advertising industry earn $.80 for every dollar earned by their equally-qualified
The study suggested that systemic barriers to equality in the advertising
industry have not budged in the last 40 years. It was concluded that appropriate
responses to racial discrimination within the advertising industry included
rooting out stereotypes which determine employment potential and eliminating
assumptions that racial minorities cannot succeed in non-ethnic markets.
The NAACP plans to circulate the report to its members, as well as Fortune
100 companies in an attempt to urge them to stop aiding and abetting racial
discrimination in the advertising industry.