Numbers Up, But Progress Isn’t Enough

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New York — The cable industry
is heading in the right direction
with regards to its diversity practices,
but needs to keep the momentum
going if it is to remain competitive
in an increasingly diverse
world, cable executives said at the
NAMIC Conference last week.

Speakers at the joint NAMIC and
WICT Town Hall reacted positively
to the organization’s recently released
employment surveys, which
conveyed mostly positive data on the
employment of people of color and women.

Among the findings, the WICT PAR survey
reported a 7-percentage-point increase in the
share of female full-time employees, to 43%
since 2009, while NAMIC’s AIM survey highlighted
an 8-percentage-point growth in the
share of people of color in executive positions
since 2008, to 24%.

The majority of panelists were pleased with
the progress the industry has made in recruiting,
hiring and promoting people of color and
women. Still, Chris Powell, EVP of human resources
for Scripps Networks Interactive, said
the industry still has opportunities to improve.

Comcast EVP David Cohen said he was surprised
by the increases for what is an otherwise
mature industry. “I think those were big
moves at any time, but they were particularly
big moves in a mature industry with a lot of
retrenchment going on and continued consolidation,”
he said.

Several of the panelists said the poor economic
times should not be used as an excuse
for not further improving employment ranks
among people of color and females.

“The economy may be a roadblock and an
obstacle, but that just means that you have to
bring better game and work harder,” Kelly Regal,
EVP at Turner Broadcasting System, said.

Mae Douglas, EVP and chief people officer
for Cox Communications, said the industry
should be beyond making the business case
for diversity.

“We don’t have to go back to some of the initial
arguments of whether we do this or not,”
Douglas said. “I think it’s becoming an integrated
part of how we do our business. We’re
not starting at ground zero and we’re not babies
at this.”

Telemundo chief operating officer Jacqueline
Hernandez said the challenge going forward is
to get away from making the case for diversity
and instead to work on how to make diversity
part of a company’s overall market play.

Time Warner Cable chief operating officer
Rob Marcus also said that diversity should not
be just a human resources initiative but rather
integrated throughout all levels of the company
so that it’s top of mind for everyone in the

“We need stuff to happen that continues momentum
and that’s not a project or an initiative,”
he said.