IAB Education Foundation Reveals Plan to Strengthen Diversity in the Digital Media and Marketing Industry Candidate Pool by 50% & Increase Employee Diversity and Retention by 25%

Releases Report That Encapsulates Learnings from ‘Voices United’
Multi-City Listening Tour & Establishes iDiverse Initiative to Forestall
Imminent Threat of Lagging Diversity Among Workforce Candidates

Features New IAB & EY Data Projecting 47% Increase in Demand for
Skilled Job Candidates in the Digital Advertising Industry, Upholding
Expectations of a Major Talent Shortage

Diversity Dividend and the Looming Skills Gap in the Interactive Media
,” a report released today by the Interactive Advertising
Bureau (IAB)
and the IAB
Education Foundation
, summarizes the current state of the
interactive media and marketing workforce and reveals next steps the
Foundation is taking to educate, welcome and sustain a growing industry
that embraces racial, gender, economic and cultural diversity. Through
its efforts, the Foundation intends to establish a dedicated initiative
called iDiverse, which will train 2,000 entry-level candidates, increase
the diversity of the ecosystem’s candidate pool by 50 percent and
increase total employee diversity and retention statistics by 25 percent
by 2020.

The publication crystallizes the findings from “Voices United,” a
four-month, multi-city diversity workshop and listening tour co-led by
AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, who serves as IAB Education
Foundation Chairman of the Board, and Freada Kapor Klein, Founder of the
Level Playing Field Institute and Co-Chair of the Kapor Center for
Social Impact.

“For the first time in U.S. history, the majority of K-12 students are
‘minorities’; this is our future workforce,” said Armstrong.
“Collectively, we need to connect with all of our customers, and
diversifying the industry is the only solution. The establishment of
iDiverse will put the digital media and marketing arena on a path of
growth in lockstep with our audience.”

“Companies who aren’t committed to diversifying their workforce today
will suffer in terms of sustainability and profitability long-term,”
said Klein. “The dialogue that surfaced during our tour illustrates the
needs and nuances that need to be addressed to diversify, extend, and
sustain the talent pipeline.”

The paper also features findings from a national research study with EY
(Ernst & Young) to determine specific current and future workforce needs
in the digital advertising and ad technology industries. The study
estimates that 25,000 total jobs will be added to the industry across
departments in the next two to four years, representing growth of 47
percent – calling for candidates with solid backgrounds in math,
technology, science, and programming. Currently, however, schools are
not emphasizing these areas enough in their curriculum to develop the
much-needed talent pool.

In the immediate future, the IAB Education Foundation and iDiverse plan
to build relationships with science, technology, engineering, and
math-focused nonprofit organizations serving underserved populations to
attract a more diverse applicant pool, and partner with educators online
and on-the-ground to recruit, train, and qualify candidates who reflect
the consumer base of our member companies. Additional strategic agenda
items include:

  • Developing curriculum for entry-level positions in sales, ad
    operations, data analytics, and marketing
  • Recruiting industry companies to serve as employers of graduates from
    these programs
  • Creating a first-ever entry-level digital job examination to be
    administered at the conclusion of the training
  • Providing a library of best practices as well as tips and strategies
    for retention
  • Conducting additional research to measure levels of diversity across
    many different under-represented groups in the digital advertising and
    technology industries
  • Forming a task force to study unconscious bias in recruiting,
    candidate pipelines, and diversity benchmarks, among other issues

“The most diverse communication medium in history needs to reflect the
full breadth of its users,” said Michael Theodore, Senior Vice
President, Learning and Development, IAB, and General Manager of the IAB
Education Foundation. “Creating iDiverse to expand our nonprofit,
education, and funding partners will be a critical next step towards
building a qualified workforce that will reflect the diversity of our
industry’s consumer base.”

The mission of IAB Education Foundation is to promote the increasingly
skilled and diverse workforce as well as grow the media and marketing
capabilities of companies by developing a professional and diverse
workforce that reflects the customer through education, training, and
certification. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the
Foundation is developing curricula and certification programs in
fast-growing areas of employment within digital media and advertising
companies, including digital advertising sales, advertising operations
and data analytics. The Foundation is equipped to take tax-deductible
contributions from individuals and companies and will be funded from a
variety of sources including corporate and individual supporters,
donations, workforce development grants, and the IAB itself.

To download “The Diversity Dividend and the Looming Skills Gap in the
Interactive Media Industry” report, please go to www.iab.net/diversity.
And, to learn more about iDiverse, please visit www.iab.net/educationfoundation.

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and
marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised
of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are
responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital advertising
or marketing campaigns. Together, they account for 86 percent of online
advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the
IAB develops technical standards and best practices and fields critical
research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands,
agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital
marketing. The organization is committed to professional development and
elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the
workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy
office in Washington, D.C., the IAB advocates for its members and
promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to
legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered
in New York City and has a West Coast office in San Francisco.


IAB Media
Laura Goldberg, 347-683-1859