Committed to change

Written by Pim van Helten on 16, Juth 2020

The way the marketing industry is looking at and talking about race is changing rapidly. What we’ve been hearing around us like the list of demands by 600 & Rising is certainly encouraging. It’s definitely not the first time that we have brought up the diversity question at DPDK and it will surely not be the last.

We also realize that raising awareness and talking about diversity, equality and racism is good, it was time to take a hard look in the mirror. Simultaneously, as a company it’s our responsibility to do more, to do better. Keeping true to our Rotterdam roots - actions instead of words. 

That’s why we want to share publicly and transparently who we are as a company, what we stand for, where we came from and where we want to be in the near future. 

We strongly believe in diversity, equality and inclusion. DPDK should be a reflection of the society we live in. Not only because it is the right thing to do or say - it goes much further than ticking off boxes. Back in 2015, research from McKinsey already indicated that ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to financially outperform companies who aren’t. Which makes a lot of sense, because how can you connect with customers if your company doesn’t think and act like the world around you? Bluntly put, diverse teams deliver better work. 

Which brings us to the question of how diverse DPDK is as a company. DPDK is originally a Dutch agency, founded in 2001 by not surprisingly three white men. The data below shows how far we’ve come since then, but also paints a clear picture that we have a lot more work to do. 

Current state

1. Representation by gender

Since our founding days, the number of women in the team has been a focus of attention, partly because we mainly employed men during our first three years of business. Today, we are evenly split between female and male. 

In the second chart, you can see that 50% of senior positions within DPDK are held by women. Our leadership team, however, is all male. 

2. Representation by ethnicity

Currently, the DPDK team consists of more than fifteen nationalities and most continents are represented. But the team is predominantly white (71%). We are also 16,6% Asian, 4,2% Black, 2,1% Latinx and 4,2% two or more races. 

The lower chart shows that we skew heavily white at the medior, senior and lead positions. There is more diversity at the intern and junior levels within the company, however it’s clear that we need to take action to improve this. 

3. Representation by age

This chart represents the age breakdown within DPDK. As you can see, there is a big variety in age, with an overrepresentation of Millennials and Gen Z. 

Actions speak louder than words

Being transparent is the first step in holding ourselves accountable. We have put in place an ongoing plan to be a more diverse, equal and inclusive employer and defined six key focus areas:

  1. People: We aim to increase diversity across the whole organization and seek to offer equal opportunities for all employees, with a specific focus on the management team, design and technology departments.
  2. Culture: We are actively searching for improvements in our culture, so that we can close the gaps between our current and desired culture. 
  3. Education: Building a more diverse and inclusive organization starts with education, that’s why we will provide DPDK’ers the knowledge and tools that are needed to promote diversity and anti-racism. 
  4. Design: The way we solve design challenges can be improved and we are aware that there’s work to do. There are biases and omissions in our work processes and we are implementing changes to update them.
  5. Talent: We will adopt a more proactive approach to lower the entry barriers that hinder current talent to pursue a career in the creative industry. 
  6. Community: The creative industry needs to listen, learn and act. We will hold ourselves accountable to the commitments that we made and actively support initiatives and movements that are advocating for diversity and inclusion. 

For a full overview of our commitments, please visit this page

Be new every day, is our slogan for a reason, as we don’t back away from change. Even if this includes taking a critical look at our own organization. We will find a way to learn and unlearn at the same time and will keep you posted on the progress. 


Pim van Helten