How flexible working is helping to drive diversity in marketing

6 min read | Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Retail and Sales, UK&I | Article | DE&I Flexible and hybrid working

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Learn all about how flexible working is helping to drive the increase of diversity in marketing. Clare Kemsley, Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Retail and Sales, UK&I, explores the latest trends.


Diversity in marketing: Key Insights

The world of work has seen revolutionary changes recently – and the marketing sector is no exception. Two years ago, business as usual took a back seat as organisations handled the immediate impacts of the pandemic. Huge numbers of professionals switched to working remotely almost overnight.

It’s only now that we are able to start to gauge the impact of these events. According to the Hays Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2022 report, one of the impacts of this change has been on equality, diversity and inclusivity (ED&I) agendas.

ED&I is becoming an ever-greater priority for organisations. Employers and professionals alike believe a more equal, diverse and inclusive workplace offers many advantages for their organisation. Productivity, staff morale and company culture are just three areas that have been positively impacted.

Our findings also highlight the importance marketing professionals place on working somewhere that is committed to ED&I. We found that three-quarters (75%) of those in marketing said that, when looking for a new role, an organisation’s diversity and inclusion policies are important to them. 

Likewise, over two-thirds (67%) said they would only apply to an organisation which has a public commitment to ED&I. Therefore ED&I needs to remain a priority – particularly when it comes to attracting new talent.


Flexible working and diversity in marketing: Background

Flexible and remote working have historically seen a strong presence in the marketing profession. But the rapid transition to full-time remote working for many during the lockdown had an impact. 

Over three-quarters, (76%) of those working in marketing are currently working flexibly. The majority (78%) believe that increased access to flexible working can help their organisation gain access to a more diverse pool of talent.

However, respondents also noted drawbacks that this flexibility has. Nearly half (45%) said that flexible working practices can cause boundaries between work and home lives to blur. A quarter said that flexible working can cause burnout. Shockingly, nearly a fifth (18%) believed that working flexibly is negatively impacting their career progression.


What employers need to prioritise

So how can employers use flexible working to drive their ED&I agenda? Here are our recommendations:

  • Showcase a public commitment to ED&I: A diverse and inclusive workforce is no longer a unique selling point to prospective employees. Employers wanting to attract and retain the best individuals need to make comprehensive ED&I policies a core part of their talent acquisition and retention strategy. Have a public voice on current diversity and inclusion issues, for example.
  • Promote ED&I initiatives across the jobseeker journey: ED&I policies, including flexible working options, need to be promoted at key points in the jobseeker journey. Include ED&I information in job ads and on your organisation’s website to avoid lowering your engagement with top talent.
  • Understand that flexible working isn’t ‘one-size-fits-all’: Flexible working options should be tailored. Employers need to realise that it offers huge advantages for some, but drawbacks for others. Reasons why include the role, working style and any personal circumstances. Try to accommodate this by remaining open to flexible working for all employees, not just those who are parents or carers.


How employees can take responsibility

What can employees do to reap the ED&I benefits of flexible working? Here are some things to think about:

  • Look for an employer’s commitment to ED&I: If you are job searching, make looking for ED&I policies a priority. Organisations that are committed to ED&I are invariably more enjoyable to work for – and are more likely to thrive in our rapidly evolving world of work.
  • Consider what working style works best for you: What do you need to work at your best? Consider what your ideal working arrangement would be and discuss this with your employer. An organisation that truly fosters a diverse and inclusive environment will work with you to figure out a flexible working arrangement which best suits you.
  • Open a constructive dialogue with your employer: Try to remain adaptable and practical in light of your employer’s situation. When discussing ED&I initiatives or flexible working, approach the conversation constructively and focus on how both you and your organisation will benefit.


Flexible working and diversity in marketing: The next steps

For both employers and employees, the key to achieving ED&I goals is to be considerate and flexible. By working together, employers and employees will help the profession progress, reaping the ED&I benefits of flexible working in marketing.

For more insights into how the flexible working revolution is impacting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, request a copy of our latest Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Report.

About this author

Contact Clare Kemsley

Clare is the Managing Director of Hays Marketing, Retail and Sales, UK&I. Over her last ten years at Hays, Clare has developed a detailed understanding of creative and customer focussed industries and the talent they need to succeed. She believes that great behaviour drives the culture of the business and allows the customer experience to be of the highest quality.

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