EIC 2022 Equity Benchmarking Study

2022 Equity Benchmarking Study

Table of Contents

Welcome & Acknowledgements

p 04


p 06

02 EIC Equity Task Force and Equity Acceleration Plan

p 09

03 Study Methodology

p 13

04 Executive Summary

p 18

05 Results by Dimension

p 35

06 Conclusion


p 38


p 43

08 Glossary of Demographics and Study Terms

p 46

09 Secondary Research References

About the EIC Equity Task Force and Equity Acceleration Plan

Why the Equity Task Force was formed

The Events Industry Council (EIC) is committed to accelerating action for sustainable development and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the global events industry. Keen to drive meaningful change and create welcoming communities, the EIC is continuously exploring approaches to champion the adoption of sustainable and socially impactful DEI practices. In November 2020, EIC announced the creation of a global EIC Equity Task Force. The Task Force aims to support the events industry, its global federations, and the work of EIC’s Centre for Sustainability and Social Impact. The Task Force is charged with addressing systemic racism and all forms of discrimination in the business events and hospitality industry by developing a meaningful framework for action to accelerate inclusion. The work of this task force is meant to support and amplify the work of the EIC’s member organisations and stakeholder partners. The framework will help establish industry benchmarks and monitor progress in the areas of Organisation Framework, Career Pathways, Industry Leadership and Event Framework. The EIC’s Equity Acceleration Plan adopts a structured approach to address systemic racism in the global business events industry through assessment, strategy, resources, training and benchmarking. As a critical first step in the strategy, and to maximise the impact of the industry’s collective efforts, the Task Force agreed that it would be critical to get a clear, objective understanding of the current state of DEI as understood by employees across the industry, in order to:

Identify industry-specific DEI challenges and trends facing event professionals across different demographics

Benchmark how DEI is currently perceived in the industry, and demonstrate why investment in change is imperative.

Create a benchmark to measure the impact of a DEI programs over time

Offer targeted recommendations to address emerging priorities, informing an effective program of action


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Tharoor Associates, globally recognised advisors on DEI and Unconscious Bias. Culturelytics, a data analytics company that provide organisations with data-based insights on organisational culture to enable success. HS Consultancy, an impactful training provider in England in the field of equity, antiracism, unconscious bias, equity and decolonisation. To address this gap, the Task Force called on the EIC to conduct a global benchmarking study using qualitative and quantitative methods to more accurately assess and measure current perceptions and experiences of DEI of professionals working across all sectors and geographic regions of the global business events industry. To enable this first-of-its-kind study, the EIC partnered with the below expert groups: However, while there is substantial anecdotal information on people’s experience of discrimination, measurable data on DEI in the industry globally is currently sporadic and sparse.

The EIC Equity Benchmarking study is the first phase of a multi-year initiative to accelerate meaningful action on DEI across the global business events industry.

Study findings and recommendations will provide the EIC Equity Task Force with a fact- based starting point for driving DEI consciously and consistently across the global business events industry. The results will be the foundation in the building of a pan-industry strategic plan, along with frameworks, voluntary guidelines, and toolkits to help member organisations identify and address deep-rooted DEI issues, focus on priority actions and sustain necessary changes.

Figure i: Multi-year programme to accelerate meaningful action on DEI in the events industry


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

This initial report lays out key findings and insights of the Phase 1 Equity Benchmarking study, identifying key focus areas for work. It should also provide a new, refreshed platform for discussion within the industry and EIC’s leadership and industry stakeholders, helping to foster innovative responses to this pressing social issue from an industry in a unique position to make a difference. Phases 2 and 3 of the EIC’s Equity Acceleration Plan will enable economies of scale for the development of tools and other training resources and insights that will be available to partners and the global business events industry.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Study Methodology

Study Methodology

In order to produce a robust, objective assessment of current DEI experience in the events industry, the study comprised three steps:

A series of focus group discussions (FGDs) with EIC leadership An AI-based chatbot survey of EIC members across the industry Analysis of the survey data using a customised AI data analytics platform

Figure ii: Three-step study process

Step 1: FGDs and creation of DEI framework

Ownership: Do I understand DEI issues and act accordingly? Accountability and power of influence: Is my organisation and leadership working to improve DEI? How are we engaging and tracking/measuring improvements? Delivering change: What key areas of DEI need change the most? Sustaining change: How impactful are current interventions on DEI based on key metrics? Crucially, themes emerging from these leadership discussions also allowed us to develop a customised, clear four-dimension framework for assessing DEI experience in the events industry and planning targeted actions. The four dimensions are: The study began with a series of focus group discussions with the Events Industry Council (EIC) Leadership: members of the EIC Equity Task Force, the EIC Board of Directors, and several external key stakeholders and partners. Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 22 leaders to build common understanding and ownership of the project, and to shape the design of the industry-wide chatbot benchmarking study. Together, these dimensions, which emerged organically from the FGD discussions, represent a holistic picture of the experiences and expectations of people across the industry on DEI. This framework was then used to design the chatbot survey, with questions aimed at shedding light on each dimension of experience.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Figure iii: Four-dimension framework for assessing DEI in the events industry

EIC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Framework


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Step 2: AI-based global industry-wide benchmarking study

Based on inputs from the FGDs, a 12-question chatbot study was designed to gather quantitative and qualitative data on current attitudes and perceptions on DEI within the global business events industry. The survey was distributed widely to events professionals globally, across the range of industry sectors and geographic regions. A total of 1404 event professionals from 380 unique organisations in more than 15 industry sectors responded to the survey. Responses were spread across various demographics, providing a statistically robust representation of the industry for analysis. Both small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large organisations are well- represented in the dataset. Event professionals from all organisational levels are also reflected, although senior- and mid-management constituted the majority of the respondents. The study also collected self-identified demographic data in the following categories, to enable a demographic analysis of the responses: gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, work location, education, employment, organisation size, industry sector, job grade and organisation type.

Figure iv: Rich data set of study respondents

1400+ event professionals responded to the survey 380 organisations ranging from <50 to >10K employees 15+ industry sectors Survey respondents:

Finally, study findings were supplemented with secondary research to gain an in-depth understanding of the industry’s perception towards DEI. The study’s combination of qualitative and quantitative inputs and data-based analysis provides the EIC and the Task Force with a new, more accurate platform of understanding on which to base its DEI strategy.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Executive Summary

Key Findings and Insights from the Study

As previously mentioned, the Equity Task Force was created to facilitate concrete, positive, substantial, transformation and eliminate inequities that result from systemic racism. Towards this, the study highlights disparities that stem from different perspectives, with ethnicity and gender being the most apparent. Also, the lack of data collected and already existing within this area is evidence to accelerate DEI change and can also be interpreted as a concern that event professionals may be reluctant in sharing their views and concerns on lack of DEI in the industry. Hence further strengthening the need for more conversations and channels to minimise injustices, biases, and discriminations. Below is a summary of top-line findings and insights from the study. More detailed results are described in the following section titled Results by Dimension.

Key Findings

Key Insights

Having a majority population that identifies as White with minimal representation from minority groups could make it challenging to have the necessary representation in leadership and influential positions to effect change. Further, unconscious biases could be limiting job progression for events professionals from different ethnicities.

Surveyed event professionals who identified as White (61%) are predominant across all job grades with minimal to no representation from other ethnicities, especially in senior management and board positions. Survey respondents who identified themselves as Black (16%) rated the DEI experience 11% lower across all 4 dimensions compared to those who identified as White. Over 75% of the surveyed population identifies as female and women, are also well represented in managerial and senior roles. Nevertheless, there is a high level of dissatisfaction from this demographic when compared to their male counterparts on all 4 dimensions of the DEI framework.

Key Insights that the female gender requires more support from their organisations to adopt and drive DEI in the industry. Despite significant female representation in managerial and board positions, the study shows


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Key Insights

Key Findings

The strong cultural footprint provides concrete evidence of how powerful and influential the male dominance in the industry is, despite being a smaller population.

Less than ¾ of the surveyed population identified as male and are 6% more satisfied with the DEI

experience than their female colleagues in the industry.

Employed event professionals (83%) are significantly dissatisfied with DEI in the industry when compared to those who are self- employed or have alternate employment types.

It appears that an ability to exercise personal agency may be a mediating factor in the experience of DEI initiatives. This may indicate that dispersed power and greater ownership of roles at all levels holds the potential for improving the experience of inclusion.

Key Insights

2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study Secondary research data supports the influence of ethnicity on the professional experience across several accounts - candidates with White-sounding names receive 50% more calls for interviews (2), colourism influences job selection more than one’s educational background and previous work experience (3), employees who identify as Black also receive promotions less often (4) and are more likely to be laid off or fired in times of business uncertainty and economic turmoil (5). 15 The study findings bring to the forefront the impact of subtle forms of racism and discrimination on the DEI experience in the events industry. Often racism is synonymous with racial slurs, hate crimes, and other actions. However, the difference of the DEI scores between respondents who identified as Black in comparison to those who identified as White, draws attention to less obvious but equally detrimental forms of racism - structural and systemic racism. Preceding studies have affirmed that such invisible, but deep-rooted forms of racism could manifest in other experiences and outcomes for ethnically diverse individuals irrespective of the industry or sector they work in (1), for example the kind of projects they work on, the pay or benefits they receive, the way their performance is evaluated and recognised, how their careers progress etc.

These statistics only amplify the business case for helping organisations develop a strategy and plan for execution to eliminate systemic racism and address racial inequalities. To address systemic long-term racism, leaders and organisations must deploy collective resources that will benefit the events industry and the community. Progress and change will not happen overnight, cannot be outsourced, or delegated – but MUST commence now, consciously and authentically. Racism amid COVID-19 has led many to reflect on the everyday, quiet, yet insidious forms of racism that many minority groups endure (6). Such reflection coupled with repetitive injustices against minority groups has urged many organisations, especially C-suite leaders to pledge their commitment to advance DEI in the workplace (7). This certainly helps in improving awareness of the nuances and relevance (8) of DEI and could well explain the relatively higher scores for the dimensions of Accountability, Ownership and Sustaining Change. In contrast, that the dimension of Delivering Change received the lowest scores indicates that many of the DEI practices, structures and policies are only in principle but not in practice. This leads to further deliberation on whether the existing approaches in the events industry are optimal for achieving transformational change. There is no doubt that the industry needs better representation from minority groups, professionals with different sexual orientations, various educational backgrounds etc. However, this becomes a mere statistical activity if there is only improvement in these metrics, without improvements in the experiences of these professionals within the events industry. It is no longer just about what is done, but more about how it is done that is becoming crucial. More diverse professionals can be recruited, but how are they being involved to effect change will make all the difference. The industry must adopt unconventional practices and a contemporary approach to make everyone truly belong.

With continued focus on diversity in the industry, there appears to be an urgent need to focus on inclusion and with it - equity. It is time to emphasise the I and sharpen the focus on E in DEI.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

The vital role of ‘ Allyship ’

It is evident that the Black Lives Matter movement has driven people in positions of power to step up and make their workplaces fairer and more inclusive. Leaders and people across organisations are now more aware of these issues and keener to play an active role to help their marginalised colleagues advance rather than expect any single function (such as human resources or a DEI committee) to make all the difference. To be co-creators of transformative DEI change in the industry, everyone must educate themselves about racism, be more cognisant of privilege, take responsibility for their own behaviours, and receive feedback from people in underrepresented groups. In other words, each one of us must ‘be an ally.’ A crucial component in being an ally is to call out or confront unconscious bias and systematic oppression based on race, religion, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or ability. Effective allyship could involve recognising one’s own privilege and using it to influence inclusion and equity. To enable a culture of allyship in the events industry, all stakeholders must advocate for each other and stand together against bias, discrimination and racism.

Being an ally means:

Creating space for constructive dialogue on economic injustice and oppression

Ensuring that voices of the lesser represented communities are heard

Leading with empathy to create an environment to thrive together Becoming mentors and sponsors of women and people from diverse ethnicities

Insisting on hiring practices and talent pools that are diverse

Watch out and stand up for bias at work

And so much more …

To enable meaningful allyship, organisations must support leaders and teams with tools and resources to shift efforts from performative gestures to real action that better serves members of their workforce and the extended communities. Emerging from the study, some key best practices to improve DEI practices in the events industry, including proposed actions to support allyship, have been shared separately with the EIC Task Force and the EIC board for their consideration and discussion of next steps. In the following sections, the report explores the results of the study in more detail - specifically how key respondent demographic groups rate their experience on the 4 dimensions of the EIC-DEI framework.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Results by Dimension

Results by Dimension

Below are more detailed results from the study, organised according to the four-dimension framework developed. Diving deeper within each dimension, the demographics of ‘Ethnicity’ and ‘Gender’ are explored in more detail along with other relevant demographics to the dimensions. A compilation of the heatmaps for all demographics is available for reference under the section titled ‘Annexure’ towards the end of the report.

1. Ownership

Ownership is the second highest scoring dimension in the study (3.96 out of 5), with respondents indicating a relatively high level of personal and organisational awareness and ownership of DEI issues. Across the surveyed population, the difference in DEI scores between female and male respondents is the least in this dimension. Although male respondents account for less than 25% of the population, on average they appear moderately pleased with DEI in the industry across various dimensions and demographics. Conversely, despite significant female representation, especially in managerial and board positions, the female respondents rated their DEI experience lower than males indicating that the industry may require more support and interventions in adopting and sustaining DEI in the industry. Supporting data trends emerging from the study: More than 75% of study population identifies as female. Additionally, women are also well represented in managerial and senior roles (61% of the respondent population in the job grades: ‘ Senior Management ’ and ‘ Board ’ ). Nevertheless, there is a high level of dissatisfaction from this demographic when compared to their male counterparts (21%). Furthermore, in the other 3 dimensions, men consistently rated their DEI experience higher than their female colleagues: Sustaining Change (6% higher), Delivering Change (7% higher), Accountability and Power of Influence (7% higher).

1.1. Ownership and Ethnicity

In any study focusing on DEI, understanding its impact on various ethnic groups is essential. When diving into the results for the four dimensions based on ethnicity, the heatmap displays a blue gradient indicating varying levels of satisfaction for the DEI experience in the industry. (See Figure 1a). Upon closer inspection, respondents who identified as White gave higher scores compared to respondents who identified as Black and who gave lower scores across all dimensions. Research suggests that the population which identifies as Black continues to face obstacles to advancement on all levels starting from shop floors to C-Suite settings, when compared to other minorities and white women (9). 2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study 19

This report presents data using unicolored heatmaps. The legend (right) outlines how to interpret these heatmaps.

Figure 1a: Ethnicity and the four dimensions

This is further exacerbated in Figure 1b, where Black men and women gave lower scores than White women, while white men gave significantly higher scores than the other 3 categories.

Figure 1b: Ethnicity with Gender and the four dimensions

In correlating gender and ethnicity to better understand the dimension of ‘ownership,’ a critical question that emerged was - “Is there increased DEI awareness developing and did it take a catastrophe for people to embrace DEI and its importance?”


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

A simple statement from one of the survey respondents that beautifully captures the essence of the ‘ ownership ’ dimension states:

“ All our roles should be to hire the best people, train them and give them tools to succeed, and hold them accountable. This is work, not a social experiment. ”

1.2. Ownership and Gender

Despite being the majority, what limits non-male leaders in the industry to create better ownership for DEI? Are gender stereotypes and imposter syndrome (i.e., doubting one’s abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, more often experienced by the female gender)(10) prohibiting DEI transformation in the industry? Despite a large female population in the industry, on average women rated their overall DEI experience lower than their male counterparts, which warrants attention and leads to these questions: To further understand the impact of Gender on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, an overall analysis of gender as a demographic revealed interesting data trends. Research has often attributed the dramatic underrepresentation of women in leadership positions to the challenge of balancing home and work. However, recent work with a global consulting firm looked at detailed data to highlight an alternate perspective. Women weren’t being held back because of trouble balancing work and family; men, too, suffered from that problem and nevertheless advanced. Women were held back because they were encouraged to take accommodations, such as going part-time and shifting to internally facing roles, which derailed their careers (11). The research concludes that the real culprit in women’s stalled advancement, is a general culture of overwork that hurts both sexes and limits gender equality. A critical takeaway from this research for the EIC-DEI study is to reflect and review current work practices and policies for gender inclusivity in the events industry. Member organisations should be encouraged to examine the gender consequences of existing work practices that may reinforce biases about men’s ready fitness for work and women’s for family life. Correlating ‘ownership’ to other dimensions (as shown in Figure 1c) highlights that the female population is least satisfied with the dimension of ‘Delivering Change’ for DEI in the industry. This indicates a significant problem, which if not addressed can lead to a negative disruption for DEI in the industry. This will be further explored in the dimension of ‘Delivering Change’.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Figure 1c: Gender and the four dimensions

Secondary research provides further evidence on how a masculine organisational culture influences progression to leadership levels and positions of power; and masculine organisational culture has been a likely explanation for the persistence of the glass ceiling phenomenon. The critical conclusion from one research on ‘The Role of Organisational Culture Preferences’ (12) is that organisations are based on norms and beliefs that are more frequently adhered to by men than by women. Thus, masculine cultures, or masculine substructures, consist of hidden assumptions and tacit norms and organisational practices that promote forms of communication, views of self, approaches to conflict, images of leadership, organisational values, definitions of success and of good management, which are stereotypically masculine. This only further warrants the EIC’s mission to accelerate efforts on DEI initiatives, to create a more inclusive and better represented industry. In summary (Ownership): DEI is everyone’s job and not just for the leadership team or the employer to manage. Often change is addressed by distribution or greater numbers of representation from different social groups in the organisation or industry. However, the findings around gender and ethnicity in this dimension serve as a reminder that a greater degree of inclusivity will be a catalyst for true transformation. This will need to address the dominant white male culture footprint that exists and look to include more female and ethnically diverse voices at the leadership level for industry level change to be effective.

Emerging priorities for action: Ownership

To achieve the EIC ’ s DEI goals, the industry must actively promote ethnic

diversity, gender inclusivity and equity in leadership and influential

positions, with a vital element being the creation of effective supporting

networks, forums and resources for non-male gender individuals to Lean-

in (13).


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

2. Accountability and Power of Influence

Accountability and Power of Influence (Accountability) is the highest scoring dimension in the study with a score of 3.98 out of 5. This indicates that across the industry, respondents are moderately confident that a concern about discrimination would be handled in the right manner and there is faith that the leadership will take ownership and stay accountable for delivering results on DEI. However, the concerning finding from this dimension is the alarming difference between how the genders perceive this dimension. Unlike in ownership (where the DEI experience was rated the same irrespective of gender), for accountability, the male survey respondents are 7% more satisfied with the DEI experience compared to their female colleagues. This further reiterates the cultural footprint that exists in the industry and warrants urgent attention to improve leadership credibility and trust on this dimension. Otherwise, this could become a high detractor for potential candidates from diverse groups who have heard or witnessed that there is limited or no gender inclusivity and equity in the events industry. Supporting data trends emerging from the study: On an average, respondents who identified as White constitute 60% of the study population in each job grade, followed by respondents who identified as Black (16%) and cumulatively other minority groups - Asian, Hispanic, Latina/o/x, Multiracial (24%). Exploring ethnicity particularly in senior management and board levels indicates that 63% of these positions are held by respondents who identified as White, compared to 14% of respondents who identified as Black. Although they are the second highest ethnic group (16%), there is a high level of dissatisfaction amongst the respondents who identified as Black in the study. Additionally, survey respondents in Education (9%) and Government (7%) sectors rate the DEI experience lower than their counterparts in other sectors. These are two critical industry sectors that have the power to influence the perception of the industry in the community through the experiences they create (i.e., awareness through education, systemic changes through legislation, etc.) and hence it is important to explore opportunities to develop more promoters for the DEI experience in the industry. From global movements such as Black Lives Matter, there is also a rightful demand for better accountability from businesses and organisations world over to enable better DEI in the community. 2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study 2.1. Accountability - Ethnicity and Job Grade The first correlation explored is ethnicity and job grade where it is concerning to find that respondents who identified as Black rated their DEI experience 14% lower compared to the study average. 23

Figure 2a: Ethnicity with Job Grade

2.2. Accountability - Ethnicity and Employment Type The second correlation explored is ethnicity and employment type, where respondents who identified as Black rate their DEI experience 20% lower than the study average.

Figure 2b: Ethnicity with Employment Type

2.3. Accountability - Ethnicity and Industry Sector The final correlation explored in this dimension is ethnicity and industry sector, where respondents who identified as Black rate their DEI experience 13% lower than the study average. Figure 2c: Ethnicity with Industry Sector

Note: “Others” includes: “Consumer Goods and Retail Trade,” “Discretionary Consumer Goods and Services,” “Building/Construction/Home and Repair,” “Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs” and “Raw Materials/Science.”


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

How can leaders and people in influential positions in the industry and member organisations advocate DEI transformation? Is it acceptable that change is dependent on having representation from diverse groups and not happening organically? Are there unconscious biases that exist today which could impact career progression for professionals in the events industry? If not, what is limiting more diverse representation in the industry? It is evident from Figures 2a, 2b and 2c that a pre-dominant ethnically White population, supplemented with minimal to no representation from minority groups, especially in influential positions (for example - there is no Board member of multiracial ethnicity) appears to make it more challenging to effect change, and raises questions on underlying beliefs and assumptions that may exist in the events industry:

Sample qualitative inputs from a couple of survey respondents further validates the influence of ethnicity on job grades and highlights how event professional perceive leaders ’ view on DEI.

“ Our ownership is very, very conservative Christian, and very White. I feel like we have some bias in regards to people of color, as the majority of our staff are White. I feel like men in my same position make more than I do as a woman, despite the fact that I have more years of experience than many of them. There is nothing blatant, and it is never discussed, but White men hold the highest level positions, and the lower level Whites probably get paid more than women in comparable positions. Our company is very inclusive of homosexuals and those of different religions, but I believe we have some ways to go before people of color and women are on the same plane as White guys. ”

“ I do not think my management team even realises what DEI is and when the situation is brought up they show no process in including it in the workplace. ”


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

In summary (Accountability and Power of Influence): There is a strong call for leaders and organisations to link the “what” (DEI strategy) to the “how” (shaping and implementing outcomes) to build better credibility for DEI in the industry. Leadership modelling is critical to change the DEI perception in organisations and the industry. Leaders must create a strong sense of purpose and practice the desired attitude, competencies and skills to adopt for a better DEI experience. By demonstrating these elements, leaders can greatly influence their teams to be more diverse and inclusive in their actions and behaviours.

Emerging priorities for action: Accountability and Power of Influence

To build support for transformation in the industry, the EIC must

encourage leaders to take ownership of issues and lead the DEI agenda

with confidence and visibility, thereby inspiring the industry and member

organisations to be more accountable internally and externally.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

3. Delivering Change

This is the lowest scoring dimension in the EIC-DEI framework, with a score of 3.57 out of 5. Interestingly, this is one of the dimensions where both male and female event professionals strongly believe that there is scope to improve how DEI is implemented in the events industry. There however continues to be a higher score for the DEI experience from respondents who identified as White, as well as event professionals in senior and board level positions for this dimension. Supporting data trends emerging from the study: The difference between the DEI perception amongst male and female survey respondents is only 3% (accountability was 7% and sustaining change was 6%). Respondents who identified as White in senior and board level positions are 14% more satisfied with the DEI experience compared to others in the industry. Additional research reveals a common theme of disconnect between a company’s statement or commitment of resources (to fight racism) externally and the daily employee experience (14). While the disconnect is not new, the awareness of its depth is unique for some. Hence this dimension explores how the correlation of ethnicity to gender and employment impacts the DEI experience in the industry.

3.1. Delivering Change - Ethnicity and Gender

It is evident with this comparison that irrespective of gender, there is an urgent need for organisations and the industry to deliver on the promise for a better DEI experience. The persistent medium blue hues exist across the heatmap indicating that either there are insufficient interventions for DEI or what exists is not being practiced in spirit. Figure 3a: Ethnicity with Gender

Note: “Others” includes: “Indigenous” and those who selected “Prefer not to say”


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Drawing a correlation to the ownership dimension indicates a huge gap between expectations and reality for a majority of the survey respondents who have identified as female (77%). While there is a higher score in the ownership dimension, unless this is supplemented with actual interventions for DEI – there is a high risk of frustration, burnout and attrition from this majority population. This could severely impact future talent from joining or supporting the industry.

3.2. Delivering Change - Ethnicity and Employment:

Exploring the demographics of employment type and ethnicity in Figure 3b indicate that event professionals of Asian ethnicity rate the DEI experience in this dimension as 19% higher than the study average. This is one of the few instances where despite being a minority group, survey respondents of Asian ethnicity (7% of respondents) have rated the DEI experience significantly higher than their ethnically white colleagues (60% of survey respondents).

Figure 3b: Employment Type with Ethnicity

The deeper analysis in Figure 3c indicates that 40% of ethnically Asian respondents have their work location as Central, Southern and Eastern Asia. Hence, implying that event professionals located in Asia are happier with the DEI experience in the region compared to their colleagues in other parts of the world and leads to a critical question - “How much do cultural differences impact the DEI experience to deliver change?”

Figure 3c: Work location with Ethnicity

The other aspect to note from Figure 3b is that majority (83%) of survey respondents are employed, while 11% are self-employed. Those who are self-employed are considerably more satisfied with DEI in the industry than employed respondents. This could be directly correlated with limiting processes and policies within organisations that make it more difficult to initiate and effect change for DEI. There are other diverse employment types recorded in the survey, indicating that people may be keen to explore, participate in and contribute to the events industry if flexible, DEI supportive and contemporary work arrangements are more readily available.

There are a few survey voices that actually highlight limitations in mindset and on-the- ground action that impact how DEI initiatives are executed:

“ Racism and discrimination has to be understood and admitted in order for the root causes to be addressed or any true DEI initiatives to be put into place. ”

“ I believe there is ageism (towards younger members not being promoted when deserving), as well as the preference for single/childless to take on more work because they 'have less responsibility' outside of work. I also feel there is preferential treatment towards those who are related to the owners/leadership at my company. ”


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

In summary (Delivery Change): It’s time for the industry to adopt a more systematic, coherent approach to deliver action and change on DEI. A great way to socialise delivering change is to encourage professionals in board and senior management roles, position themselves as the top champion for DEI efforts. This will reiterate that DEI exists not only as a strategy, but is achieved in action with executive leaders walking the talk for DEI outcomes. Much of this can also be achieved seamlessly if there is a mindset shift from mere diversity training to leadership development and coaching.

Emerging priorities for action: Delivering Change

To deliver change, the EIC must explore options to integrate DEI

measurement into existing processes with a focus on key metrics that

will persuade leaders to enhance the role of DEI as a strategic function.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

4. Sustaining Change

Sustaining change ranks third amongst the 4 dimensions in the EIC-DEI framework with a score of 3.95 out of 5. Similar to the accountability dimension, there is a continuing trend emerging for gender and ethnicity where male survey respondents rate their DEI experience higher than their female colleagues by 6%. Respondents who identified as White, rate their DEI experience higher than other colleagues in the industry by 8%. Supporting data trends emerging from the study: When analysing the dimension of Sustaining Change, the Gender, Ethnicity, Size and Job Grade demographics had certain significant findings. Through the analysis of Job grade, those who are in board-level positions or senior management positions selected scores 11% and 6% (respectively) higher than the other job grades on average. When drilling down further, both these grades are heavily dominated by White participants. These White participants perform, on average 17% higher than Multiracial participants and more than 10% higher than Black participants (the lowest scoring two demographics). More specifically, White men score the highest and performed more than 16% better than Black women who were one of the lowest scoring demographics. Overall, men rate their DEI experience in Sustaining Change, almost 6% higher than all women. Hence, this dimension explores the correlation between sustaining change and ethnicity, organisation size, gender and job grade to understand the impacts on the DEI experience in the industry.

4.1. Sustaining Change – Ethnicity and Company Size

A comparison of ethnicity and organisation size reveals that the group identified as ethnically multiracial (4%) in the study gave the lowest scores for sustaining change. This group rates their DEI experience 11% lower than the study average and 24% lower than their ethnically White colleagues.

Figure 4a: Ethnicity with Organisation Size

This is particularly lower in larger organisations suggesting that minority groups not only have limitations in representation, but also find it more difficult to sustain change through day-to-day decisions in the industry. This could be attributed to insufficient encouragement or lack of opportunities for such minority groups with different experiences, ideas and opinions to speak up.

4.2. Sustaining Change – Ethnicity and Job Grade

There is an obvious trend noticed where the same ethnic group has different DEI perceptions depending on their job grade. Study respondents who identified as White in senior management and board levels (44%) rate the DEI experience 13% higher than respondents who identified as Black in mid-management. This is evident in Figure 4b, where respondents who identified as White in senior management and board levels have more darker blue hues (i.e., gave higher scores) compared to the same demographic in mid-management who denote a lighter blue tone (i.e., provided lower scores) on this dimension.

Figure 4b: Ethnicity with Job Grade


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

It is important to stay cognisant of the fact that leaders and those in positions of power tend to believe that they are committed to reflect DEI through their day-to-day decisions (15). Hence a certain level of overconfidence bias may be expected from respondents in leadership positions (such as those within the categories of senior management and the board). Overconfidence bias is a tendency to hold misleading assessment of one’s skills, intellect, or talent and causes the person to overestimate their abilities. On the ground, leaders and professionals in positions of power tend to be overconfident of their inclusivity and efforts to address exclusion may be hindered. In the long term, this leads to a tendency where continuous change for DEI is not prioritised since there is overconfidence that existing DEI changes and interventions are optimal. This creates conflict between employee expectations and leader perceptions within an organisation and limits the company in living up to its potential. Supporting research suggests that the single most important trait of an inclusive leader is their “awareness of bias,” more specifically, a leader’s awareness of personal and organisational biases (16).

Comments from some survey respondents throw light on the urgent need to bridge this gap between leaders ’ perception and employee needs and expectations:

“ Says to collaborate but once collaborated the idea is discarded. ”

“ Me and my colleagues are afraid to speak up. We get penalised (get shut down at the best, be subjected to mobbing at the worst) for it. ”

In summary (Sustaining Change): For an absolute culture transformation, DEI changes must be integrated into existing practices in the industry (i.e., enable DEI into the flow of work). For sustaining change, there must be a strong focus on consistent and constant efforts through which all employees irrespective of work location, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or age feel heard. There should be ample opportunities through daily operations and decisions for more voices to be heard so that any DEI change that is introduced can be sustained and evolved for a more inclusive industry experience. Emerging priorities for action: Sustaining Change To achieve the EIC ’ s DEI goals, the industry must establish voluntary guidelines to adopt effective policies and practices to sustain change both in the workplace and the industry. To establish a global standard for these guidelines, the EIC must create easy opportunities for cross-border dialogue, best practice sharing and develop toolkits that support the industry with solutions from across the world.


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study



Hári Sewell, Director, HS Consultancy, comments: “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is often referred to as an industry, conjuring ideas of people working on data and/or initiatives. For DEI to be effective there needs to be a goal of transformation. Otto Scharmer (2018) in The Essentials of Theory U quoted Bill O’Brien the late CEO of Hanover Insurance - ‘The success of an intervention depends on the interior conditions of the intervener.' “It is useful to start in leadership teams and organisations by clarifying the underpinning paradigm to the work. What is the emphasis given to different explanations of inequalities, e.g. individualised, i.e. that employees and managers make biased decisions or structural, i.e. critiques that argue that inequalities are inevitable because even the approaches and frameworks being relied upon have inbuilt biases. Problem solving theories usually suggest starting with defining the problem. DEI is no different.” It is evident from this study, along with other research, that existing practices need to be enhanced to build a sustainable DEI experience for event professionals across the industry. The study data on ethnic and gender inclusivity provides a convincing insight into how representation of gender alone is not an assurance of cultural change. The language of initiatives and projects on DEI potentially contributes to a notion of DEI being partial and temporary. Sustainable DEI change is essentially about dismantling systems and processes that maintain the status quo. Add-ons are insufficient. This is a potential challenge and if the DEI experience continues to be the same, it is an indicator of the key messages from this study. To support this transformation journey, potential actions have been proposed separately to the Events Industry Council to review as planning for Phase 2 interventions commence.

Further Exploration and Limitations of the Study

As with majority research, this study was subject to limitations. The two key factors to note were the sample size and diversity of the survey respondents. Having fewer responses in certain categories made it challenging to explore further analysis into the data (e.g.: respondents who identified as having a disability). Considering the global nature of the events industry, having better participation and inputs from ethnically diverse groups and geographical locations would have made the study more comprehensive. To address this in the future, it is recommended to consider specific outreach to ensure greater participation from indigenous voices. Additionally, there is limited existing research on this topic in the industry. This literature gap can be viewed as an opportunity to pro-actively engage with event professionals and seek feedback on changes expected in the industry – both from an overall as well as a DEI perspective.

Next steps: Leveraging the study results

Strategy: Definition of focused, dynamic goals for the industry and a framework for benchmarking progress that reflect priorities and modalities identified in the study. Resources: Development of world-class tools for the benefit of EIC membership, including: toolkits, guidelines and training resources, in the four key areas identified in the Plan: The results of the study will be leveraged to support the EIC’s Equity Acceleration Plan. A leadership workshop will be held to discuss the study and come to a shared understanding of its implications for the EIC’s work in this area. The findings, insights and recommendations will then be used to help shape the Equity Acceleration Plan deliverables for maximum impact and cost-effectiveness:

2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study Measurement: The study results provide a baseline against which progress can be more accurately measured, and the impact of the Plan interventions can be assessed. The same survey tool can be used on a periodic, scheduled basis for comparable results. 37


Annexure This section includes a compilation of the heatmaps that were generated for all demographics surveyed. Figure 5: Age and the four dimensions

Figure 6: Sexual Orientation and the four dimensions

Figure 7: Work Location and the four dimensions


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Figure 8: Education and the four dimensions

Figure 9: Employment and the four dimensions

Figure 10: Size and the four dimensions

Figure 11a: Organisation Type and the four dimensions


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Figure 11b: Organisation Type Cascade Event Organiser / Owner and the four dimensions

Figure 11c: Organisation Type Cascade Event Industry Supplier and the four dimensions

Figure 12: Industry Sector and the four dimensions


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Figure 13: Grade and the four dimensions

Figure 14: Language and the four dimensions

Figure 15: Ownership Type and the four dimensions

Figure 16: Accessibility and the four dimensions


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Glossary of Demographics and Study Terms


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study


2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study

Secondary Research References

(1) K.P. Jones, C.I. Peddie, V.L. Gilrane, et al., “Not So Subtle: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Correlates of Subtle and Overt Discrimination,” Journal of Management 42, no. 6 (September 2016): 1588-1613. (2) Bertrand, Marianne, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination." American Economic Review, 94 (4): 991-1013. (3) M.S. Harrison and K.M. Thomas, “The Hidden Prejudice in Selection: A Research Investigation on Skin Color Bias,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 39, no. 1 (January 2009): 134-168. (4) D.R. Avery, S.D. Volpone, and O. Holmes IV, “Racial Discrimination in Organizations,” ch. 7 in “The Oxford Handbook of Workplace Discrimination,” eds. A.J. Colella and E.B. King (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018). (5) K.A. Couch and R. Fairlie, “Last Hired, First Fired? Black-White Unemployment and the Business Cycle,” Demography 47, no. 1 (February 2010): 227-247; and K.A. Couch, R. Fairlie, and H. Xu, “Racial Differences in Labor Market Transitions and the Great Recession,” in “Transitions Through the Labor Market,” eds. S.W. Polachek and K. Tatsiramos (Somerville, Massachusetts: Emerald Publishing, 2018), 1-54. (6) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/how-hate-incidents-led-reckoning-casual- racism-against-asian-americans-n1271729

(7) https://www.ceoaction.com/? utm_source=link_wwwv9&utm_campaign=item_348266&utm_medium=copy

(8) https://www.ceoaction.com/purpose/

(9) Diversity and Inclusion, Harvard Business Review, 2019 (Toward a Racially Just Workplace. Diversity efforts are failing Black employees. Authors: Laura Morgan Roberts and Anthony J. Mayo) (10) People and Culture, KPMG Study, 2020 (KPMG study finds 75% of female executives across industries have experienced imposter syndrome in their careers. Authors: Paul Knopp and Laura M. Newinski).


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