What agencies need to do to retain female talent

Agencies are perpetually fretting they won’t be able to attract or retain the best talent.

They should be, according to Valerie Carlson, executive creative director at SapientNitro. But the wave of consolidation that’s swept the industry, with nearly every digital shop scooped up by a big holding company, has come at a cost: Agencies are stuck in a spiral of being unwelcome to the diverse talent they need to thrive.

Speaking at the Digiday Agency Summit on Friday in Palm Springs, Calif., Carlson partially attributed her rise within the industry to embracing digital advertising when it was in its infancy. The nascent days of digital offered more opportunities for women and for innovative thinking, she said. But as digital shops have been bought and integrated into holding companies, they’ve become more bottom-line focused, which will likely discourage young women from working in advertising, she said.

Watch Carlson discuss why agency consolidation is a threat to gender diversity in the industry and what agencies can do to ensure they keep talented young women interested in advertising.