Joint Town Hall on Diversity

NAMIC & WICT Announce Highights of Joint Industry Diversity Survey

Media Contact:
Wanita Niehaus
202-643-2765 (office)

Released on 9/26/17

  • Biennial joint survey conducted by Mercer as the third party expert.
  • A total of 24 organizations participated with an estimated 67.5% of the workforce captured.
  • The Walter Kaitz Foundation is the underwriter of the joint NAMIC AIM and WICT PAR survey, providing the cable telecommunications industry with benchmarked data vital to the advancement of ethnic and gender diversity.

New York, NY – September 26, 2017 — The National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) today announced highlights of the 2017 NAMIC AIM and WICT PAR Industry Diversity Survey. Comprised of benchmarked data vital to the advancement of people of color and women in cable, the results of the NAMIC AIM (Advancement Investment Measurement) and WICT PAR (Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities and Resources for Work/Life Support) joint survey were announced this morning during a Joint Town Hall on Diversity. The two associations partnered to hold the town hall meeting in New York City in conjunction with the 31st Annual NAMIC Conference and the 2017 WICT Leadership Conference.

Underwritten by the Walter Kaitz Foundation and supported by the industry, the two surveys have been jointly administered since 2011. This collaboration and willingness to collect hard data to inform its diversity efforts and initiatives is unique to the cable media industry. Conducted by third-party expert Mercer, a global consulting leader in talent, the NAMIC and WICT study captured diversity at all levels; workforce dynamics—i.e., hires, promotions, and exits—of women and people of color in the industry; projections of how representations of women and people of color at management levels can be expected to change over the next 10 years; diversity practices and the commitment to diversity and inclusion; and non-traditional employee benefits. Twenty-four organizations completed the survey, capturing an estimated 67.5% of the cable telecommunications industry’s workforce. Of the 24 organizations responding, 19 participated in both the 2015 and 2017 NAMIC and WICT Cable Telecommunications Industry Diversity Surveys. The 19 returning respondents were categorized as “survey over survey” participants. Trending specific to the 19 “survey over survey” organizations was examined to determine percentage point changes in representation between 2015 and 2017.

In terms of gender-related data, the study showed an increase in the percentage of executives and senior-level women. In addition, hiring rates into management levels and retention rates have improved for women, while promotion rates have remained stable. Across the 19 organizations that participated in both the 2015 and 2017 surveys, the percentage of female executives and senior-level managers increased by 5.5%. The current proportion among all 24 of the 2017 respondents (38%) is significantly higher than the comparable national benchmark (30%). Although an analysis of trending gleaned from the “survey over survey” participants’ data show increases for women at the executive and senior management level, as well as the professional level, other areas remain flat. The total percentage of female full-time employees among the 2017 respondents is 34%.

According to the 2017 survey, women are being recruited at higher rates than men and promoted at near equal or higher rates. And while the turnover rate for women is higher than for men at every level, it has improved since 2015. Projections by Mercer indicate that if current workforce dynamics persist, the female population at the manager level and above is expected to remain flat over the next five years and increase by one percentage point in the next 10 years. This outcome could be improved if organizations are able to retain women at the same rates as their male counterparts.

“There is measurable progress in a number of areas for women, specifically at the senior manager and executive levels, where the industry outperforms other industries; however, there is still work to be done,” said Maria E. Brennan, CAE, WICT President & CEO. “The key driver for women to achieving parity with men in other areas continues to be better employee retention. Though we are pleased to see improvements in this area in 2017 that results in projected growth over the next 10 years, improvement will be faster with better strategies and programs to improve retention. Overall, the survey underscores the need for WICT and the industry as a whole to remain resolute in our commitment to parity—not only as the right thing to do, it pays dividends for companies as well.”

Pertaining to professionals of color in the cable telecommunications industry, representation exceeds the national benchmark at all levels with the exception of Board of Directors, for whom representation is on par with the national benchmark at 15%. The most notable differences are for executives and professionals where industry representation outpaces the national benchmark by nine percentage points and seven percentage points, respectively. Across the 19 organizations that participated in both the 2015 and 2017 surveys, there are gains at all levels. However, the largest increase is the percentage of executives and senior-level managers who are people of color, which increased by 7.8%.

Promotion rates for professionals of color continue to be lower, though improvements have been made, while turnover rates remain higher than for their white counterparts across the responding organizations. However, due to significantly higher hire rates for people of color, the industry population is expanding. Projections by Mercer indicate that if current workforce dynamics persist, the population of people of color at the manager level and above is expected to increase by roughly two percentage points in the next five years and five percentage points in the next 10 years. This outcome could be improved if organizations are able to retain and promote people of color at the same rates as their white counterparts.

“While there is evidence that our industry is committed to increasing multi-ethnic diversity,” said Eglon Simons, President & CEO of NAMIC, “continued vigilance and commitment will be essential as we move forward. The lower rates of retention and lower rates of promotion being experienced by professionals of color threaten to undermine hard-fought gains. We should be encouraged by the increase in executives and senior managers of color. However, efforts to enhance advancement and retention will play a key role in improving these statistics. In addition, companies must determine the underlying reasons for poor retention and put programs into place for improvement.”

The Joint Town Hall on Diversity, held to address findings from the NAMIC AIM and WICT PAR joint research, featured a distinguished line-up of business leaders. Michael Powell, President & CEO, NCTA, was on-hand to deliver opening remarks, while Gail Greenfield, PhD, Principal, Mercer, presented the survey results. Panelists included: Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources & Global Diversity Officer, Discovery Communications; Karen Bennett, Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Cox Communications; David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast; Rhonda Crichlow, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Charter Communications; and Monica Diaz, Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Wellness, ESPN. John Yang, Correspondent, PBS NewsHour, NewsHour Productions, served as moderator.

Launched in 1999, the NAMIC employment survey, formerly entitled, “A Look Toward Advancement: Multi-Ethnic Employment in the Communications Industry,” offered a baseline of statistics and perceptions about the state of multi-ethnic diversity in the cable telecommunications industry. Renamed the NAMIC AIM Survey in 2011, the report continues to provide rich data utilized by companies to support goals for sustaining a robust pipeline of multi-ethnic talent.

Since 2003, the WICT PAR Initiative has measured the status of women employees in the cable industry based on three criteria: Pay Equity, Advancement Opportunities and Resources for Work/Life Support. A comprehensive advocacy program helping companies to set goals, institutionalize practices, measure progress and achieve results, the PAR Initiative showcases best practices regarding company policy and procedures, which are changing the landscape of the industry. Each year, the PAR Initiative grows more valuable as a resource for measuring and supporting the advancement of women in the cable and telecommunications industry and has been supported by WICT’s 23 global chapters and industry.

Mercer is independently managing the development of customized data reports for NAMIC and WICT. The executive summary of the 2017 NAMIC AIM and WICT PAR Cable Telecommunications Industry Diversity Survey is now available for download at www.namic.com and www.wict.org. For more information about the NAMIC AIM, visit www.namic.com. Additional information about the WICT PAR Initiative can be found at www.wict.org.


NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications) is the premier organization focusing on multicultural diversity, equity and inclusion in the communications industry. More than 3,500 professionals belong to a network of 18 chapters nationwide. Through initiatives that target leadership development, advocacy and empowerment, NAMIC collaborates with industry partners to grow and nurture a workforce that reflects the cultural richness of the populations served. Please visit www.namic.com for more information about NAMIC and its many opportunities.

For over thirty-five years, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) has partnered with cable and telecommunications leaders to provide professional development programs, research and services that help advance women in media. With over 10,000 members, WICT is the oldest and largest professional association serving women in the industry. Comcast NBCUniversal, Charter Communications, and Turner are WICT’s Strategic Touchstone Partners. Please visit www.wict.org or follow @WICT on Twitter for more information.

The Walter Kaitz Foundation advocates for diversity and inclusion across the media and entertainment industries. In addition, the Foundation provides targeted funding to key organizations within the industry that support vital programs and initiatives that promote the contributions of women and ethnic minorities. The Foundation also curates programs which are designed to bring together various partners and stakeholders who work towards the diversification of the industry’s workforce, expanding its supplier diversity base and promoting diversity in its programming content. Please visit www.walterkaitz.org or follow @WalterKaitz on Twitter for more information about the organization.

Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organizations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Mercer’s more than 22,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 60,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $13 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com. Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.

Wanita Niehaus
National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications
202-643-2765 (office)

Kristin Edwards
Women in Cable Telecommunications
202-827-4790 (office)

Click Here to watch the 2017 NAMIC AIM & WICT PAR Industry Diversity Survey webinar recording.
Click Here to download the slides from the webinar recording.

For more information about The NAMIC AIM or past research (Click Here).