This is part 1 of 2 in our series about diversity at agencies. Part 2 will focus on strategies for the future and client diversity.

For many agencies, it can be hard to quantify progress in diversity.

There often is no blueprint for it in the broader corporate world, and many initiatives at media agencies are still being developed since the murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked a nationwide movement toward greater awareness over the lack of diversity in the working world. Almost three years later, as agencies reflect on these various efforts, they agree that impactful diversity, equity and inclusion work needs to be ingrained across an organization’s culture and values — and not sit in its own lane.

For IPG’s UM Worldwide, Chief Diversity Officer Jeff Marshall said the diversity goals have centered around recruitment and retention as well. Around 33% of new hires identified as BIPOC in 2018, which increased to 59% in 2020. Since then, Marshall said the agency has maintained around 50% in incoming BIPOC employees in the last few years.

“Honestly, a lot of it is awareness,” he said. “There’s not always some nefarious actor. It’s usually just awareness, like people don’t realize what their teams look like or they don’t realize that they hired the person because they connected with them on something else.”

Read more in Digiday.