Our Commitment

To all our staff, our clients, our suppliers and anyone who has an interest in our business:

Like many companies & individuals, we’ve been shaken by the atrocities threatening Black lives and moved by the huge momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. This has made us take a much closer look at ourselves and the role we must play to help remove the social injustices that exist in our society.

We wanted to take our time to craft a true and actionable policy. We spent a month doing just that and giving every employee in the business the opportunity to input into it and, ultimately, sign up to help deliver it.

The result is this open letter that sets out our commitment to be a much more inclusive and diverse business with specific measurable actions that we will be taking both now and in the long term.

It has been shared with all our clients and every single supplier and partner that we work with and will remain on our website permanently, ensuring it is updated regularly as we continue to deliver against the actions we have set.

Whether you work for us, we work for you or you want to work with us, we hope that together we will make our business, our industry and the world a more inclusive and diverse place.

We have outlined our inclusion & diversity mission as follows:

We must be representative of the society (and city) we serve.
We must play our part in driving change for a more equitable society.
We must promote Allyship and zero tolerance from the inside out.
We must make sure there are no barriers to working at or for M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment London.

Where we are today

Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) has been high up on our agenda for a number of years with a recent focus on developing a more inclusive business, combined with a longer-term vision for becoming more diverse, as diversity is ineffectual if the business is not inclusive.

Over the past two years we have taken part in and created multiple initiatives, including:

  • Creating gender parity within the agency at all levels, including the introduction of dedicated female leadership training programmes and maternity coaching.
  • Participating in and creating initiatives reaching young people in underrepresented communities such as iCAN Project LDN, Speakers for Schools and Advertising Unlocked.
  • Sourcing and securing commercial agreements with a number of person of colour specialist recruitment partners, which has resulted in far greater representation at junior levels.
  • Talking at industry events on the importance of I&D and holding the industry to account at events such as at BAME 2020.

Whilst some see this as a good start, it’s not enough. We need to sharpen our focus, make ourselves accountable and accelerate this work to make genuine change.

How will we be moving our policy forward?

Our first initiative will be to recruit a dedicated I&D consultant to help us shape our strategy as well as advising on priorities, partners and measurement.

This consultant will also participate in our monthly board meetings to ensure we are addressing I&D progress moving in the right direction.

We plan to have this consultant in place by the start of September.

Secondly, and with immediate effect, we will set up a dedicated employee Inclusion & Advisory group, chaired by our consultant, to provide counsel and guidance to the main board. It will also act as a safe space to provide feedback freely.

They will advise on the delivery of our four key pillars to make change:

1. RECRUIT & RETAIN

2. TRAINING FOR CHANGE

3. INDUSTRY CHANGE

4. SUPPLIER CHANGE

 

1. RECRUIT & RETAIN

THE HARD FACTS

Our four-member senior leadership team is equally split on gender, but is 100% white. Our board is 30% female and 100% white, and our Business Directors are also all white with a 50:50 split female to male ratio.

Whilst our gender split continues to move in the right direction, our representation statistics in other areas are simply not good enough.

Whilst this has not always been the case, the fact is that right now our board and business directors are all white.

THE PROMISE: RECRUIT

We will…

… make recruitment our number one focus to ensure fairer representation at all levels – from intern to board level. Without this commitment to taking positive action we simply won’t become a more inclusive & diverse business. As soon as we are able, we will be addressing the under- representation at Business Director & Board Level.

… serve the city we work in by ensuring at least 40% of candidates that we interview are people of colour as well as committing to providing equal opportunities & an inclusive environment regardless of class, disability, sexual orientation, gender, religion or age.

… always hire the best person for the role, but to say ‘we just don’t see enough diverse candidates’ is simply unacceptable. We must work harder and be prepared for it to take longer to have a truly diverse shortlist of candidates for every role.

… make sure we have representation within the interview process with a Q&A section for all candidates dedicated to our I&D policy and progress.

… change our criteria – we must focus on looking for talent, not just like-for-like experience.

… expand the channels in which we find talent and never stop interviewing and meeting new people.

THE PROMISE: RETAIN

We need to ensure our culture is such that anyone who identifies as a person of colour or a minority can feel truly included and want to stay and grow with our business.

This means we will…

… be more transparent about our commitment to I&D and our progress in this area

… make sure all our staff are educated to understand different cultural experiences

… be a business that supports person of colour led causes, talent & businesses

… provide a board level sponsor to every person of colour employee to serve as a mentor

 

2. TRAINING FOR CHANGE

THE HARD FACTS

We currently have a range of training programmes in place, but we do not have a mandatory company-wide inclusion training programme.

THE PROMISE

We will…

… educate each individual in our workplace through dedicated training at all levels, with a compulsory structured training programme throughout the year.

… make I&D training part of the on-boarding process for all new starters.

… undertake structural bias, inclusive and allyship training for every single employee by the end of the year.

… send all Board members on the Fearless Futures ‘Designing for Inclusion’ intensive 3-day programme.

… create a dedicated leadership training programme for all person of colour employees.

… create a new initiative to equip our employees to deal with situations where people that are working with (either internally or externally) have not demonstrated allyship.

… have a dedicated fund for reading materials to help employees better educate themselves on Black history and inequality.

… create a support system for new starters, especially those from minority backgrounds, during their probation periods to help them bed into our fast-paced environment comfortably, including assigning a mentor and a buddy.

… make it clear to everyone we work with we have zero tolerance position when it comes to discrimination.

 

3. INDUSTRY CHANGE

THE HARD FACTS

The UK sport industry is a white male dominated industry, especially at the highest levels.

Across Sport England and UK Sport funded bodies, there is only an average of 5% of board members that identify as from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background [1]. It’s something we acknowledge in our business too and that must change but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also push for change outside of our business at the same time.

Whilst the Entertainment industry as a whole is more diverse representative, there is still a significant issue of underrepresentation at the most senior levels with only 8% of board positions across the five main UK broadcasters held by people of colour [2]. This is significantly down on the representation levels of the city that the majority employ from- London.

THE PROMISE

We will…

… use our voice and our resources to advocate for change, particularly as our audiences span all different ethnicities and classes.

… stand for something tangible that shows how we are playing our part to effect change in our industry.

… create external outreach, training and internships for people from underrepresented groups looking to gain experience in our industry.

… work to have a direct impact in our industry through partnerships with NGBs, rights holders, artists and athletes to make sure we, as an agency, have a commitment to change – not just through our clients.

… deliver senior level pro bono consulting for a small group of independent POC led business / movements. Our senior management team are already committed to helping to mentor 300 black business in the next six months – https://blackbusiness.mcsaatchi.com/.

… offer pro-bono services to a wider pool of POC led businesses, e.g. design time, staff for events, strategic support, editing, creative etc.

… fundraise and lobby the industry alongside NGOs/charities to create change, offering our channels, voices and credentials.

 

4. SUPPLIER CHANGE

THE HARD FACTS

We work with multiple external suppliers on a daily basis, without knowing much about their make-up, ethics or how they run their businesses. If we’re spending money, whether on behalf of a client or our own funds, then we want to ensure it’s going to businesses who have the same goals as us.

THE PROMISE

We will…

… create a directory of preferred suppliers based on their diversity commitments and pledge to only work with those who have a commitment in place.

… complete an audit of every existing supplier by the end of the year to ensure they have an equality policy in place.

… create a procurement process for new suppliers to include a specific RFI on I&D.

… ensure a diversity standard with talent and influencers recruited for our client campaigns.

… be transparent and up front about our expectations to clients and supplier about our I&D criteria.

 

And finally…

We will keep this open letter on our website for all to see. If we are not delivering on any element, we expect to be pulled up on it.

Thank you for your time in reading this.

Let’s get to work.

 

 


[1] Source: Diversity in Sport Governance, Sport England, 2019
[2] Source: Diversity & opportunities in television. Ofcom, 2019