A new survey released by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed significant progress in increasing CMO diversity, indicating a closing gender gap among top marketing executives.
The study, which interviewed chief marketing officers (or their equivalents) at 747 different ANA member companies, found that 45 percent of CMOs identify as female, while 55 percent identify as male.
This statistic departs significantly from a different study done by Equilar just last year, which put the percentage of high-level female marketing executives at public companies at just 19 percent in 2016.
Even with a closing gender gap among C-suite marketing roles, the industry has enormous steps to take to give equal representation to people of color.
“Despite the acknowledgment of and significant emphasis on the necessity of having more marketers of color occupying the top ranks, the data suggests a material shortfall in fulfilling diversity objectives,” the ANA added in a statement.
Only 13 percent of the survey’s respondents claimed to be non-white, with 5 percent identifying as Asian, 5 percent as Hispanic/Latinx and just 3 percent as Black.
The consumer packaged goods industry had the closest parity between male and female CMOs, with exactly a 50-50 gender split, as well as proportionately the highest number of ethnic-minority CMOs, at 24 percent.
The banking/finance industry had the worst record for minority representation, with only 6 percent of its CMOs not being white. Additionally, the food and beverage sector had the highest gender split, with more than double the number of male CMOs than female.
The marketing industry still has a ways to go in championing CMO diversity, but the shrinking gender gap is a step in the right direction. In any case, it’s not an issue that will be solved without active efforts by marketing executives themselves.