Adobe Launches “Creativity’s Diversity Disconnect” study

Adobe launches its “Creativity’s Diversity Disconnect” study. The Study explores the unique barriers for women and people of color in their pursuit of a creative career. The survey queried 750 U.S. creative professionals online in August and September about their perceptions of diversity and experience in education and the workplace. Adobe also interviewed 10 U.S. creative professionals, educators and community leaders. The survey research was produced by Edelman Intelligence and the interview research by Weber Shandwick’s Tai Wingfield.

The Findings

  • Nearly nine in 10 creatives (87%) say a diverse workforce should be an industry priority, yet only 54% believe diversity in the creative industry has gotten better over the last five years.
  • Women are nearly twice more likely than men (23% vs. 14%) to feel that their gender will negatively impact future success.
  • More than eight in 10 creative professionals (82%) say their most successful projects were developed by a diverse team.
  • Two in three white creatives (66%) say they feel their colleagues value their contributions compared to 55% of people of color.
  • Fewer creatives of color graduate with creative majors than white creatives (44% vs. 57%).
  • 76% report they will avoid working for/with a company they believe does not take diversity seriously.
  • A vast majority (90%) agrees a more diverse workforce is only effective if everyone feels included.

Creatives Thoughts

Here are some of the quotes on the report from the creatives interviewed:

“The sink-or-swim nature of the business is what’s maddening to me, because no amount of training as an intern can really even prepare you for what you’re walking into. And if you add in race, gender, sexuality, religion, the climb just becomes even steeper.” SHAMEKA BROWN BARBOSA, CREATIVE DIRECTOR/WRITER AND ENTREPRENEUR, THE BROWN SCRIBE

“ If you’re in an organization and you don’t see people like you at the top, it’s intimidating, it’s very hard to navigate that.” “ GINA GRILLO, CEO, PRESIDENT, THE ADVERTISING CLUB OF NEW YORK

“As a black woman, I am very confident that I do not have an equal opportunity to reach my goals.” JACINDA WALKER, AIGA DIVERSITY TASK FORCE CHAIR

“I think it is an advantage to be a man in this industry. There are certain cases where you’re like, ‘Wow, he’s listening harder to the guy.’” RICK ALBANO, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR, SWIFT

“The future is about creativity. It starts with valuing creativity in education, building the creativity of young people and harnessing that from the youngest age all the way through.” IAN SPALTER, HEAD OF DESIGN, INSTAGRAM

The Debate

This report hopes to spark additional conversation via the #CreativityForAll hashtag. There is a Slideshare on the report here. In a blog post by Vice President of Adobe Design, Jamie Myrold stated: “Much of the research on diversity in various creative fields focuses on the representation of diverse talent entering and advancing in the industry. Studies like “Artists in the Workforce” by the National Endowment of the Arts and AIGA’s 2016 Design Census help build the case that women enter the creative industry in comparable numbers to men but do not advance at the same pace. For people of color, the challenges extend beyond advancement as we see a dearth of representation in the pipeline.”

She then adds: “As a partner and contributor to the creative community, Adobe is in a unique position to do something more meaningful. It is our responsibility. The research is just the beginning. Adobe will continue to build on this body of work through additional discussions and partnerships with the creative community.

Individuals have a role to play, as well. In my role as Vice President of Design at Adobe, I aim to inspire the next generation of leaders – leaders from different genders, races, and ethnicities who can bring to bear new designs and innovations that appeal to an increasingly diverse customer. I, personally, pledge to encourage more open dialogue to ensure every contributor on my team feels their ideas are heard and valued. I will also continue to serve as a role model and mentor for other women coming up the ranks. The study underscores the importance of seeing others like you at the top. I have a responsibility to ensure that I do not remain one of the few.”


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