By Sorcha Donnelly

I recently came across an article that highlighted the importance of targeting over 50s in media campaigns as they account for more than 50% of consumer spending, which is predicted to rise to 64% by 2040.

This got me thinking of all the media imagery that I come across daily on the tube, on social media and on TV. When I looked into it, older adults remain largely ignored by marketers appearing in less than 15% of media images. It seems that ageism remains a great prejudice in the media sector, which made me think about how this affects recruitment into the sector. As one of the 9 protected characteristics under the Equalities Act of 2010, it’s worth looking into.

Perhaps the age profile of those that work in the industry offers a clue. Using LinkedIn Insights I saw that nearly half of those that work in advertising are aged between 25-34. If you look at older demographics, only 4% of those who work in Advertising are aged 55-64, compared to 70% of the UK workforce. Ageism in advertising is evidently a massive issue.

A study conducted by Mullen Lowe in partnership with the International Longevity Centre highlighted that part of the issue might be to do with the lumping together of “over 50s”. Back in the day watching X-Factor, we had the girls, the boys, the groups and the over 25s – which now seems wild to lump such a large age group together! Similarly, lumping people together as an age bracket “over X” can be problematic. The CEO of MullenLowe UK, highlights that over 55s are individuals in their own right, and can be targeted in a much more appropriate and more relevant way if they are represented truthfully.

Clearly, having much better segmentation and conducting better market research that doesn’t treat all over 50s the same is extraordinarily important. However, within segmentation, it’s also really important to be thinking about age-neutral segmentation. Age is increasingly irrelevant to what we want and how we want it, but what does this mean for recruitment?

Media companies can do all the research they want into different groups, but until you start employing these different groups, you’ll never really understand them and the benefits their experience could bring to your business. Of course, I am not just talking about age here, but all nine protected characteristics: Religion or Belief, Age, Race, Pregnancy or Maternity, Disability, Marriage or Civil Partnership, Sex, Gender Reassignment and Sexual Orientation.

Ensuring a diverse candidate pool starts before you even advertise a new role. Understanding your organisations diversity targets, knowing how your diversity targets fit into your diversity and inclusion strategy, and how you report on this is essential.

The way you advertise a role greatly impacts the diversity of a candidate pool. Inclusive language is KEY! This is why we use a gender de-coder on all of our adverts here at Goodman Masson. We avoid using language that can promote unconscious bias, and we advertise our job adverts beyond LinkedIn on different job sites that reach a wider, more diverse pool of candidates. From here, taking positive action will be paramount to making a successful hire into your business.

It’s absolutely imperative that diversity and inclusion is factored into your recruitment process for a wide range of reasons. From offering different perspectives, higher employee engagement, increasing creativity, higher levels of innovation, faster problem solving, reduced turnover and a better company reputation. On top of this, the McGregor Smith Report also highlighted that the UK economy would be 24 billion pounds better off if we unlock and fully utilise BAME talent (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic).

Of course, I am always happy to have a conversation with you on how you can become more diverse and inclusive in a fair and non-biased way. I can also discuss some different attraction strategies I am working on to widen the pool of candidates we consider. Please reach out with a good time to run through these ideas with you to see if they could deliver on some ED&I initiatives for your organisation.

Sorcha Donnelly
Sorcha.Donnelly@goodmanmasson.com
+44(0)20 7019 8840

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