Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Advertising at its best has a symbiotic relationship with culture; it draws from culture and informs culture in return. 
It stands to reason that for advertising and communications to fulfil its potential, those who deliver it should fully reflect the cultures that it intends to inform. Historically, this has not been the case.

In October 2021, the Comms Council conducted research to understand the diversity of our membership. In summary, we've made progress in some areas, but have work to do before we can claim to be fully representative of all of New Zealand. 

Industry Gender & Ethnicity

The headlines are as follows:

  • At the broadest level, a majority (66%) of our industry identifies as female.
  • Industry representation amongst the LGBTQ+ community is on par, or slightly exceeding, the national statistics.
  • Only 7% of respondents identified as Māori and 3% Pacific Islanders. Compared to census data of 16% Māori and 7% Pacific Peoples, this is not where we need to be. 
  • We are doing better in terms of Asian representation, but still not at representative levels. 
  • We are in the process of planning a follow-up industry census to dig deeper on other under-represented groups. 

Beyond the headlines, even where we have good representation, there are still pockets of leadership and specific disciplines where more work needs to be done. 

Key Findings

  • Sexual orientation

    In terms of sexual orientation, the industry has a higher than average proportion of employees who identify as bisexual, gay, or lesbian.
  • Diversity awareness

    The industry as a while feel their organisation is far more actively discussing/promoting and celebrating cultural events and holidays, in particular, Māori language week. 

    However, there has been an increase in mentions that they aren't entirely sure what their organisation does to promote diversity and feel there needs to be more awareness created.

    The vast majority (96%) think that diversity has benefits to business. 

  • Improving diversity

    Almost half of employees think there needs to be more work done to improve diversity. Most of this is around hiring diversely, act on being more diverse, and education. 

    In addition, there is a strong call to identify and research how to adapt a diverse industry (e.g. being present at career days, 


A number of Initiatives are underway to address the findings in the research. 

Employment Brand: We are developing an industry-wide platform to actively attract more talent from diverse backgrounds to our industry. As part of this project we are working with pathway organisations to extend our reach to high school students and students in tertiary education beyond traditional universities. 

Representation in Advertising: We are participating in a project, led by the NZAPG, to better represent diversity in advertising and marketing. 

Our DEI committee will be focused on inclusion, providing guidance and tools for members to ensure our workplaces are inclusive for all. 

In addition, we plan to participate in a global industry Census in early 2023, with the aim of drilling down further into issues that challenge retention in our industry, identifying high priority issues that we can address together. 

More resources

Attracting diverse talent

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Essential guides

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Industry Census

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