Insights Association’s IDEA Council Publishes “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Professional Representation Report"

Representation of Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Females in senior roles is far below the percentage of these populations at work throughout insights organizations, according to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Insights Profession”, a first-ever DEI representation report published by the Insights Association.

The goal of this research project, managed by IA’s IDEA Council, is to track the progress of the Insights industry’s diversity and inclusion efforts – an effort that required this initial measurement of the demographic makeup of the U.S. profession. The Report was the result of two recent surveys: the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey (DEI Survey) and the Culture Survey. A total of 29 companies participated in the DEI Survey and 201 organizations completed the Culture Survey.


Findings include…

Roughly 60% of Individual Contributors and Managers are Females, yet the percent of Females in more senior roles falls sharply, with 52% at the Director, Executive and C-Suite levels and only 35% on Industry Boards.


Race & Ethnicity

Black/African American, Asian and Hispanic/Latino populations are underrepresented in the Insights/Research industry, when compared to U.S. Labor Department Statistics for full-time employees. The percent of Black/African American, Asian and Hispanic/Latino working in the industry falls by nearly half after two years of service, and roughly 90% of employees in more senior roles earning the highest salaries are White.



The market research/consumer insights industry is attracting younger workers, as Millennials now represent the largest group of full-time employees at 44%.


Perceived Value and Compensation

Although roughly 80% of respondents feel valued and heard in their organizations, only 63% felt that their compensation is fair/relative to similar roles in their organization, while less than 40% felt their individual characteristics had a positive impact on their companies.


“The data in this report make it abundantly clear that more needs to be done to attract and retain diverse talent, and ensure that opportunities for advancement and higher salaries are available to all,” commented Melanie Courtright, CEO of the Insights Association. “The organizations participating in this survey are at various stages in their DEI journey. That’s exciting – it means we can encourage, teach, and learn from each other via many vantage points.”

“Collaborations like the IA x Equitas Insight IDEAtor Fellowship Program, which launches this week with the placement of 10 interns at insights agencies and corporate departments, have been developed to mitigate this disparity by accelerating the recruitment, development, and progression of diverse talent in our profession,” added Bianca Pryor, Vice President at BET and Chair of the IDEA Council.

The IDEA Council encourages sharing this Report widely and to consider it a provocation for action. Engage with the Report and the topic. Contemplate, discuss, and brainstorm for solutions to these questions… 


  • How can we be more thoughtful and effective in recruiting and interviewing?
  • How can we encourage professional development and advancement so that our leadership is more inclusive and diverse?
  • How can we champion diversity, equity, and inclusiveness in our workplace AND our research?
  • What are the most effective ways to monitor the tangible impact of DEI programs?


The IDEA Council will host its second annual IDEA Forum online, August 9 & 10. Follow the IDEA Council on LinkedIn and check out the IDEA Council’s resources here.