Recruitment & Retention

Creative ways of encouraging inclusiveness and an introduction to the experts and networks who can help you get started.

Entry level recruitment is one of the best ways to encourage a healthy diversity balance.

Here are 3 key recommendations to help get you started:

1. Take on an apprentice – The IPA has been running an apprenticeship programme called Creative Pioneers in media partnership with Metro newspaper since 2012. So far over 500 young people have benefited from the programme and 25% of them are from BAME backgrounds.

If you would like to find out more about how to get involved, please write to

2. Hire an intern through the IPA AdMission programme.
The IPA AdMission STEM & BAME Internship Programme is aimed at penultimate and final year students. The programme offers 8-10 week paid internships across a range of IPA member agencies.

The digital transformation of our industry has increased the roles and opportunities available to STEM students as well as the need for this particular skillset. We are also keen to increase out representation of the multicultural society in which we live and work in. For the BAME strand of the programme, we want BAME students of all disciplines. We are offering seven job roles within this programme, six that cater to specific STEM skills and one general role. These include Data Analyst, Digital Strategist, Real Time Media Planning & Buying, User Experience Planner, Developer, Econometrician and Creative Planner.

Please write to Janet Hull for further information

3. When hiring for internal roles at any level; or for your graduate/internship programme, you may want to

  • Think carefully about how you write and position your ads; be sensitive to how different people may react to them
  • Experiment with nameless CVs
  • Ensure your interview panel comprises of more than one hiring manager
  • Ensure hiring managers, HR and all staff have Unconscious Bias training. Click here to see our recommended trainers.
  • Try the Harvard Project Implicit test to see what your own biases are
  • Speak to your recruitment consultants about what their diversity policies are to ensure you are opening the door wide enough to level the playing field; and not just recruiting on the base of word of mouth.
  • Emphasis on the IPA training and qualifications that are available across all levels as an integral part of your offer; professionalism attracts diversity

Food for thought…

Are your current initiatives and work culture making a difference?
Is multiculturalism within the organisation celebrated?
Is your office space designed in a way that’s easily accessible to those with special needs?
Are women returners excited to be back at work?
What about men taking parental leave?
What’s the norm regarding socialising?
Is working late a given?

It's interesting that ...

PwC is home to thirteen people diversity networks. Each network has specific objectives tailored to its membership. But all of them share the aim of providing a sense of community, inspiring and supporting diverse talent and raising awareness of diversity within the firm. Click here to read more.

At Airbnb, employee "resource groups" are a place for underrepresented minorities to meet in a safe space to talk. Each group is connected with an executive at the company, who helps ensure that the groups also are helping Airbnb make business decisions. Click here to read more.

For information on what you can and cannot do in legal terms please refer to this report by Ofcom.

The list below is a compilation of expert initiatives which can help kick start your individual journey. 


Social mobility and diversity


Industry led thought leadership

Unconscious bias and diversity trainers


Well-being and culture



Bloom is a professional network for women in communications focused on three pillars; networking, mentoring and fundraising.

Creative Equals
Creative Equals is the gender diversity kitemark of the creative industry. We aim to provide more pathways to success for female creatives by working with directly with industry, recruitment, and agencies. Our ambition over 2016 is to train, sponsor and champion female creative talent in agencies all the way to the top.

Creative Social
Creative Social is a club for creative and brand leaders. Our purpose is to unleash creativity and innovation to deliver better business and culture. We do this through inspiring events, content, training and CS Labs, an experimental arm for brands.

Equal Power
Equal Power Consulting was founded by Jo Swinson in 2015 to help businesses move beyond 'fixing the women' to recognising that their organisation needs to change to make the most of their talented women as well as the men.

IPA Women of Tomorrow
The IPA Women of Tomorrow Awards calls on the industry to help recognise and champion exceptional female talent, and those who are destined to be the industry leaders of the future.

Token Man
An initiative to give men a better understanding of the challenges women face in our industry, for greater empathy when they’re in the minority. Ultimately, we want to help everyone be more informed of diversity issues.

WACL is a club for the most influential women in the UK Communications industry. Established in 1923 by a handful of pioneering women, WACL members have since met regularly to network, inspire, support each other and have a lot of fun as they do. Our members represent many of the most senior women in client organisations, media owners, advertising and media agencies.

Working families
Working Families is the UK’s leading work-life balance organisation. The charity helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and work.

Social mobility and diversity

The IPA AdMission is a graduate website designed to demystify the advertising industry. It is specifically used to house the STEM & BAME Internship Programme. The digital transformation of our industry has increased the roles and opportunities available to STEM students as well as the need for this particular skillset. We are also keen to increase out representation of the multicultural society in which we live and work in.

All About Sschool leavers
At AllAboutSchoolLeavers, our mission is clear: we help school leavers get jobs and understand the career paths available to them. Here at the home of school leaver jobs, you’ll find everything from current apprenticeships and school leaver programme opportunities, to the latest school leaver job news, and advice to help guide you on your career journey.

Big Bang – Daniel Marks
Daniel Marks is an independently owned, award winning recruitment agency. Set up in 2006 with the sole aim of becoming the leading specialist in recruiting for the Marketing and Marcomms world we are dedicated to exceeding our clients’ expectations and thrive on delivering a service that feels just right and fits your organisation perfectly.

Digify by Livity
Co-founders, Sam Conniff and Michelle Clothier, wanted to change lives.
They were two youth marketers, disillusioned with selling consumer goods to kids. When talking about the future of innovative business they inspired a shared vision in each other to harness the influence of big brands to tackle social challenges facing young people. From day one Livity opened the doors of its offices to young people to come and be involved in creating the work we deliver for clients

The Dots 
The Dots is s a professional network that helps everyone involved in the creative process to connect, collaborate and commercialise. 
The Dots believe diverse workplaces lead to better creative outcomes and they pride themselves on the diversity of their talent pool across gender, LGBT+ & BAME candidates.Their aim is to build a stronger, more profitable and diverse creative sector.

Only 8% of senior positions in Ad land are held by those from minority backgrounds. 

We believe in change by speaking to young people who aren't cut from the traditional Ad land mould and, making them aware that this profession exists and is open to a range of people, with differing talents.

IPA-Metro Creative Pioneers Apprenticeships
Creative Pioneers™ is an award winning* nationwide campaign to find the next generation of advertising, creative and digital media talent. It is the brainchild of Janet Hull OBE at trade association and professional institute, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), and is run in marketing partnership with national urban newspaper Metro.

Ideas Foundation
The Ideas Foundation is committed to increasing diversity in the creative industries and believes fundamentally that diversity increases the quality of creative ideas in the creative industries. We do this through a combination of working with 45% BAME and 60% female on our projects. We also work at the centre of the industries to campaign and increase awareness of the issue of the lack of diversity in the industries, and work to help the industry understand the benefits of diversity for their business.

Pitch It
Pitch It is a social enterprise supporting young people from lower socio-economic settings into careers in the creative industries through one-to-one mentoring.
We recruit industry professionals looking to develop themselves and inspire young talent, match them with students interested in the creative industries and support a 16 course of training and mentoring.

The Princes Trust
We believe that every young person should have the chance to succeed. So, we help 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed or struggling at school to transform their lives.

Empowering students to change the world by collaborating with communities and corporate companies. We're partnering up with local communities, corporates and a few very clever people in the world of education to devise learning methodologies that tackle all of these. Putting student wellbeing top of the agenda and ensuring we offer relatable learning experiences that are applicable to the everyday life of a student.

Versiti specialises in conducting primary research with hard-to-reach groups, the unheard and the under-served within society. For brands and agencies, we help them understand the motivations of people in these groups and create more inclusive communication and brands, as well as identify new, sizeable opportunities and strategies. We also act as interpreters, reviewing and evaluating the data clients hold, ensuring the right context is considered (ie the lifestyles and cultures of the groups, not just the business factors). 


Intern First
Founded in June of 2015 and based in London, Intern First is an online marketplace for employers to list employment and work experience opportunities and connect with talented young people aged 16-20 years old.

Speakers for Schools is a UK charity launched in 2011, providing state secondary schools and colleges with talks from a range of industry leading professionals, public figures and academics, free of charge.

National Careers Service
The National Careers Service provides information, advice and guidance across England to help you make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities. The service offers confidential and impartial advice. This is supported by qualified careers advisers.

The Not Going to Uni team are here to help you find apprenticeships, college courses or work experience to start building your future.

Industry led thought leadership initiatives

Great British Diversity Experiment
The Great British Diversity Experiment is the only diversity initiative designed for and by the communications industry that provides specific and practical insight into why
diversity works and how to leverage it.

Make the Leap
In joining #MakeTheLeap company leaders pledge to aim for 40 % female representation in senior positions by 2020. To aim for 15 % BAME representation in senior positions by 2020. Help eliminate unconscious bias through training raise awareness of flexible, or agile, working policies.

Unconscious bias and diversity trainers

The Hobbs Consultancy
Everybody should be able to bring their whole selves in to the workplace and to be valued for that. This mission started with a belief that workplaces must be able to do better at retaining female talent. And that through the retention of that female talent, workplaces would become more collaborative and inclusive places to be.
Tel: 07795 110732

Inclusive Employers
Established in May 2011, we are the UK's first and leading membership organisation for employers looking to build inclusive workplaces. We offer consultancy, training and thought leadership, to help you make inclusion an everyday reality at your place of work.

Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO London)
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London provides superior educational support and career access to young people from under-represented and under-served backgrounds to help maximise their opportunities for university and career success.

Equal Approach
Equal Approach is a leading inclusive recruiter and diversity consultancy, supporting organisations to attract, recruit, recognise, retain and promote diverse talent, and make workplaces more inclusive. We are proud to do things differently, and will make diversity and inclusion a commercially successful reality for our candidates and clients.
01283 743 928


BAME 2020
#BAME20/20 – is a game-changing initiative, which has been specially created to encourage more young people from BAME backgrounds to consider Marketing, Media and Communications as a career of choice – a career that they can be proud to embrace. We have created Ambassador teams – made up of passionate people who are 5-12 years into their MMC careers who will be brainstorming and putting into action imaginative ideas to engage young people, careers advisors and parents to become better informed about careers in MMC.

Race for Opportunity
We are The Prince’s Responsible Business Network.
Our members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

SEO London
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) London provides superior educational support and career access to young people from under-represented and under-served backgrounds to help maximise their opportunities for university and career success.

Well-being and culture

NABS is here to help improve and champion the wellbeing of everyone in advertising and media, to help you, your company and the industry succeed and thrive.

The Happiness Index
The Happiness Index has been specifically designed to be simple, bespoke and to remove the stress from gathering employee or customer feedback.

The Empathy Business
We measure empathy in the world’s biggest companies. Our work shows that empathy is positively correlated with growth, productivity, and earnings. The top 10 companies in our Global Empathy Index increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10 companies. More empathy means more profit!

What the government is doing about equality.
Diversity works for London
Disabled people leading change, working for equal opportunities for all.
We provide information, advice, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.
We're here to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they're not alone. We believe we're stronger united, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better. We have laid deep foundations across Britain - in some of our greatest institutions - so our communities can continue to find ways to flourish, and individuals can reach their full potential. We’re here to support those who can’t yet be themselves.
Shaw Trust is a national charity providing employment opportunities, skills development training and health and well-being services across the UK. We operate charitable social enterprises, retail shops and work alongside Shaw Education Trust, which runs a diverse chain of academy schools.
The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion is the UK's leading employer network covering all aspects of equality and inclusion in the workplace.
Our six strategic themes are: access to opportunities, agile working, the global marketplace, inclusive leadership, workforce representation and unconscious bias.
We build disability-smart organisations to improve business performance by increasing confidence, accessibility, productivity and profitability.
We do this by bringing together business people, disabled opinion leaders and government to understand what needs to change if disabled people are to be treated fairly so that they can contribute to business success, to society and to economic growth
Creative Skillset works with the UK’s screen-based creative industries to develop skills and talent, from classroom to boardroom

Last updated 16/05/2018

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