NAMIC: Industry Needs Greater Focus On Diversity

Mixed Employment Results Spur Call for Increased Focus

New York -- Cable executives say mixed results from recent industry diversity employment reports should energize the industry’s efforts to  improve its hiring and promotion of women and people of color.

Executives speaking Tuesday at a NAMIC and WICT joint Town Hall meeting at the NAMIC Conference said the survey results, which combine WICT’s PAR (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities and Resources for Work/Life Integration) Initiative and NAMIC’s AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) employment survey, showed that the industry needs to remain committed to hiring and promoting women and people of color across all levels. 

The overall percentage of women in the cable fell 5% over the last decade, but women increased their numbers within the executive and senior management levels, according to Gail Greenfield, principal for global HR consulting firm Mercer, which helped facilitate the surveys. While the number of people of color in the cable workforce increased by 5%, the group’s representation in upper management levels dropped since NAMIC’s last AIM report two years ago, she added.

NCTA president and CEO Michael Powell encouraged the industry “to engage the topic with the sense of dissatisfaction because we’re not there yet – it’s easier said than done but I challenge you to do it.”

Calling the survey results “disturbing,” Comcast Corp. executive vice president David Cohen added that the industry needs to have a “holistic” vision that permeates every level of the company. “If you take your eye off the ball at any place along the continuum you can end up with the results like we saw,” he said.

Adria Alpert-Romm, senior executive vice president of human resources and global diversity for Discovery Communications, said the first steps to improving diversity within cable’s employment ranks is to make sure companies are successfully recruiting people of color and women and then promoting them from within.

The industry needs to continually measure its diversity efforts to know where it needs to improve, according to Jacqueline Hernandez COO Telemundo Media. Rhonda Taylor, executive vice president and chief people officer for Cox Communications, added that you have to be willing to take chances and adequately train women and people of color for upper management positions even if they don’t initially have managerial experience.

The industry could also do a better job of recruiting and positioning people of color and women in positions that they may not ordinarily look to pursue. Alpert-Romm said ad sales are one area that women and people of color are underrepresented. Another area for diversity growth is business services, according to Cohen, as well as the sports field for women and the tech sector forr women, Hispanics and African-Americans.

Cohen added the cable industry has the opportunity to take a leadership role in the advancement of diversity throughout the country.

“We have a unique role to play that no other industry in America can play through the pictures and the images we sent out over the air and the way in which we program and the people we put on camera in news, sports, entertainment,” he said. “We can do more to move the needle about perception about the importance of diversity and inclusion and what it means.”