How diverse are Hollywood agencies? A company shares data

In the wake of protests over the murder of George Floyd, talent agencies and other Hollywood institutions faced their own judgment on systemic racism and vowed to diversify their ranks of employees.

So how are they doing two years later? It’s hard to say because most major agencies have yet to publicly disclose the racial and gender breakdown of their staff.

One exception is Endeavour, a Beverly Hills-based entertainment and media company. The owner of talent agency WME this week unveiled a detailed breakdown of its 7,000 staff by gender and race for a second consecutive year.

The results, shared with The Times, show the company has made progress from a year ago but, like other media and entertainment companies, has some way to go.

Of the employees surveyed, 56.9% identified as male in 2021, with males making up an even larger majority of leadership positions (65.4%), although down slightly from 2020.

The percentage of female employees was about stable last year (42.6%) compared to 2020. Women in management positions improved by 3% compared to 2020, as more than half of the 2 013 of the company’s new hires last year were identified as women, the company said.

In the United States, 64.8% of its staff of about 4,500 people were white, as were 75.4% of its leaders, Endeavor said.

But the company saw modest gains in the representation of people of color among its U.S. workforce, with Hispanic and Latino employees rising 1.1 percentage points to 10.9%; black employees increase by 1.6 percentage points to 8.7%; and Asian American employees up 0.7 percentage points to 7.2% from 2020.

Despite the gains, the numbers are mostly well below national population levels. In the United States, Latinos make up 18.7% of the population, black residents make up 12.4% and Asians make up 6%, according to the 2020 US census count.

Endeavor executives admit they have work to do, but say releasing internal data, which was shared with employees this week, is an important step.

“It was really important for us to start being a little bit more accountable because everybody can have these big goals and things that they say they’re going to do,” said Romola Ratnam, head of impact and of inclusion. “It’s a really useful tool, and if a company is serious about this work, I would recommend that they consider it, because it’s a really good way to hold themselves accountable and keep moving forward.”

Endeavor has worked with Color of Change and WME client Michael B. Jordan as part of his #ChangeHollywood initiative to provide racial justice solutions, support anti-racism content, and invest in authentic black stories and talent.

In 2020, Endeavor committed to publishing its diversity data, working with colleges to recruit people from underrepresented communities, training its script readers to report bias, and stepping up its education programs. virtual industry to help people break into the entertainment industry. Endeavor has also implemented an inclusion endorsement for its fashion productions, including during New York Fashion Week.

The company’s goal is to increase the percentage of employees of color in the United States to 35% by 2024, from 30% currently.

Endeavor plans to implement additional efforts to improve diversity and inclusion, including putting in place a structure to track its progress; include at least two candidates from underrepresented groups before filling vacancies for external job postings; and have dedicated signing targets for underrepresented groups.

“Updating systems and processes takes time, but it’s the surest path to real and lasting change,” Endeavor President Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “While we still have a lot of work to do, we are proud of the steps we have taken to move closer to representation that better reflects the communities in which we live and work.

Agents play a vital role in securing coveted jobs for Hollywood talent. But in recent years, representation agencies and management companies have come under fire for not being diverse enough, and some have been called out for how they treat people of color on their staff.

Some agents, hoping to speed up solutions to Hollywood’s diversity issues, later spearheaded new management companies focused on helping underrepresented communities.

Other major talent agencies said they are implementing plans to diversify their workforces and the entertainment industry by partnering with different organizations, through donations and stepping up their outreach efforts. recruitment.

Beverly Hills-based UTA said in 2021 it promoted more than 50 people in 20 departments, with nearly 60% identifying as women and a third as people of color. His other efforts included raising the minimum hourly wage to $22 in 2020, which at the time was the highest of any major agency.

In 2020, CAA created a Cultural Business Strategy Group to drive business and creative growth opportunities for its diverse clients. The Century City firm has a majority-female board of directors that oversees day-to-day management and has internal programs to help raise next-generation agents, executives and interns.

But, so far, none of Endeavor’s rivals have publicly disclosed similar company-wide racial and demographic data.

Kelle Rozell, director of marketing and storytelling at Color of Change, said she would love to see this change.

“In making these commitments and setting roadmaps, I think the key is transparency,” Rozell said. “That’s really where accountability begins. So without doing that, it’s sort of a sign that maybe the intentionality isn’t really there.

Laura J. Boyer