Will Diversity In Firing Reflect Diversity In Hiring?

This Ad Age chart shows, in actual percentages and numbers, the mandates for diversity hiring in New York City’s advertising agencies.
But we all know how unpredictable the ad industry is, and inevitably, some of these ad agencies may hire new staff only to fire them if they lose business. So will their layoffs reflect that diversity? At the Philadelphia Enquirer, now run by a former ad agency exec, it’s already an issue:

On Jan. 3, the Inquirer began laying off 71 newsroom employees, or 17 percent of its staff, based on seniority guidelines in the newspaper union’s contract. According to the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia, 17 of the 71 journalists laid off, or about 24 percent, are minorities.
“It’s a serious moral issue. We must maintain the diversity of the newsroom,” said Henry J. Holcomb, the president of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia. He said that if the paper were willing to offer buyouts to senior employees, the paper could call back several junior African-American reporters.

If the ad industry follows the mandates and hires more minorities, it’ll be quite telling to see who’ll eventually get the ax. Will more minorities be fired out of spite if the perception is they were hired because of a mandate? How will office politics play a role?

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.