Framework for Agency Inclusion and Representation (FAIR) Report

Communications agencies play a huge part in deciding the stories we see in Australian media.

Partnering with communications agency Think HQ, the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute commissioned the Framework for Agency Inclusion and Representation report.

It finds that while almost all the respondents from advertising, public relations and communications and marketing agencies say cultural diversity is important, far fewer have the tools and resources to make cultural inclusion part of their practice.

The Framework for Agency Inclusion and Representation (FAIR) report found high awareness but limited knowledge and inconsistent practices when it comes to building cultural diversity in agency workforces and campaigns among Australian communications agencies.

The report showed that nearly three quarters of Australian communications agencies don’t regularly recommend their clients consider culturally and linguistically diverse audiences, with only 25.8% of respondents saying their agencies do so even ‘some of the time’.

Research snapshot

A cultural snapshot of the industry

  • More than four in 10 (43%) said client briefs only sometimes required engaging with multicultural audiences.
  • Only one in five (21%) said their agency always proactively recommended engagement with multicultural audiences in client briefs, but only one in four (25.8%) did so ‘some’ of the time.
  • The majority of the one in four born overseas were from other Anglo-Celtic countries (UK, USA, NZ, Ireland and South Africa), representing 12% of the total, with another 3% European
  • Only  8% of respondents were of Asian background
  • Latin American and African each accounted for 1.5%
  • Only 3% of respondents were Indigenous
  • Among respondents who identified as senior leaders seven in 10 (71%) were born in Australia, with the figure rising to 86% when other Anglo-Celtic countries were included.

Diversity important but ignored

  • Almost all survey respondents (97%) believed cultural diversity in the communications industry is very or extremely important
  • 65% agreed the sector is not culturally representative of the Australian population
  • 91% agreed more needs to be done to increase representation.

Strong desire to build cultural competency

  • Three in four assessed their own cultural awareness and competency as relatively or very high
  • Just as many (three in four) said it would be useful to have resources and tools to help agencies support cultural inclusion and representation.

About the study

The Framework for Agency Inclusion and Representation (FAIR) report study has since been endorsed by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), including its Registered Consultancies Group (RCG).

It was conducted by Dr Marianne D. Sison, an Honorary University Fellow at Melbourne’s RMIT University, a PRIA Fellow and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) member.

It comprised in-depth, one-on-one interviews with nine senior leaders in Australia’s communication, public relations and advertising agencies between March and April 2021, and an online survey with 131 valid respondents received from agency practitioners from Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, conducted from May to July 2021.

Download the report here