As you know, AICP has intensified its commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The formation of the Equity & Inclusion committee by our National Board of Directors in July of 2020 and the various undertakings that AICP Members have embraced have amplified the leadership position and the importance of such initiatives for this community.
The Measuring Stick
Today we announce the official launch of our demographic reporting initiative in conjunction with the payroll community. We have been working for over a year, and the methods in which we navigate these waters is not easy. However, with this joint effort, we have come to a legally vetted, standardized, and effective methodology for reporting employment demographic data that can be shared with advertising agencies and marketers upon request.
Simply stated, we need to have a measuring stick to see how we are doing, how we are progressing and help guide the industry to meet various goals put into place by individual entities.
Why has AICP taken this on?
Many marketers, brands, and advertising agencies are asking for information about the demographic make-up of the people working on their commercials. Some are asking for this information in a manner that can be legally answered by production companies as the employers, and many are not. AICP has inserted the organization into the creation of a methodology and a standard report that all the major payroll companies have agreed to deliver to their Production Company clients.
This sounds simple, why has this been difficult to accomplish?
As small businesses with largely freelance (and intermittent) employment patterns, it is much more difficult to gather and report this type of data than for those with large full-time staff (such as an advertising agency). In fact, while large employers are required to file certain demographic information and may do so by identifying their employees, small employers are barred from doing so without the employee opting into reporting and self-identifying after they are employed. A unique rub comes from the relative nature of “todays’ employee is tomorrow’s prospective employee.” Therefore, it is paramount that reporting on Production Company employees is done in a manner that is truly the option of the employee, blind to you as an employer, aggregated prior to reporting, and delivered in a fashion that is opaque regarding the individuals that opted to self-identify.
Here are the basics:
- When an employee is onboarded for a job they will be presented in the materials an optional form regarding Gender and Race/Ethnicity. (Depending on the payroll company you use, this may be done for every job, or the payroll company may store the information for future employment).
- Each payroll company will have a unique way of gathering this information, so it is imperative that you reach out to your payroll company to understand their methodology - a list of contacts for each payroll company can be found at this link - however, every payroll company report that they ultimately issue to you will be identical in form and substance.
- Depending on how the payroll company operates, the Standard Report will be issued on individual request or automatically for each production to the production company. This of course is based on each production company’s willingness or desire to take part (which of course is optional).
- The Report will NOT be issued to AICP, nor will AICP be privy to the contents or any aggregation of data. Additionally, the payroll companies will not issue the reports to your clients. That will be your responsibility.
- By September 15, 2021, all major payroll companies have committed to implementing this reporting tool, though some may be ready before. Please consult your payroll company for more details.
- The report will have two basic areas of reporting: Gender and Race/Ethnicity.
- Both areas will be reported on by Full Crew and Crew minus PAs (Why, you may ask? It has been stated by many agencies and clients that they want to make sure that diversity goals aren’t being skewed by the make-up of those in only “entry level” or PA positions. Some have asked for data specifically on Key roles, which would not legally comply with anonymity requirements. This seemed to help accomplish this goal).
- Please click here to view a sample report.
One important note: Filling out this information will be optional for the employee and CANNOT be mandated. Great lengths have been taken to make sure that their identity is protected, and they should be informed that this project is underway and that the goals of this project are to make positive strides for greater inclusion. Employers can and should encourage participation but be mindful that it cannot be mandated.
Many marketers and agencies have already moved to implement their own questionnaires based on their own corporate diversity initiatives. While they are generally coming from similar good places to affect change and grow opportunities for underrepresented groups, we encourage you to go no further than this program and to non-forcefully encourage your employees to report.
If you have any questions, please consult your payroll company or your attorney.
The above memo was distriburted to AICP Members on Wednesday, August 25th 2021. Click Here to view the memo.
The AICP Payroll Demographic Reporting process is designed as a business service to AICP Members and was created under the guidance of AICP and its legal counsel. However, it does not constitute any recommendation, warranty, legal advice, or directive by AICP or AICP legal counsel on utilizing this information as part of legal compliance nor is it intended to fulfil a member’s legal obligations in any respect, as AICP has no part in implementation. Members are advised to consult with legal counsel with respect to compliance with applicable laws.