NEW YORK — Two years after HP directed the company’s marketing agencies to take steps to improve diversity, the company reports that firms have made significant progress in hiring underrepresented groups over the last 12 months, and exceeded gender parity in leadership.

HP’s second annual diversity scorecard, released Tuesday morning in conjunction with New York’s Advertising Week, shows underrepresented groups saw a 12 point year-over-year increase in representation on account teams, and now account for 36% of the staff employed by the five agencies. The number of leaders from underrepresented groups rose nine points to 28%.

Also in the last 12 months, women held the majority of leadership roles on HP’s account teams; 55% of senior leaders are women, rising four points from this time last year, HP said.

The diversity scorecard, which former HP CMO Antonio Lucio launched in 2016, is based on stats provided by HP’s agencies — Edelman, BBDO, Fred & Farid, Gyro and PHD, which together earn more than $2bn in revenue and employ 30,000 people.

Lucio left HP in August to join Facebook. Vikrant Batra, who had been global head of marketing for HP's $19b imaging and printing group, succeeded him as CMO.

Edelman saw a 10% increase in underrepresented groups on HP account teams. They are now 31% minority and  67% women, up from 21% and 61% respectively last year. The percentage of senior leaders from underrepresented groups, however, dipped two points to 14%, while the percentage of women in senior roles was stagnant at 50%.

Edelman staffers not working on HP accounts is now 33% minority, up from 28% in 2017. The percentage of women, however, dropped to 59% from 67%.

Because HP consolidated its PR work with Edelman shortly after initially issuing the directive, Edelman is the only PR agency featured in the report.

Among other highlights, four out of five of the agencies saw a upward trend in minority representation on overall account teams (PHD’s number was stagnant at 40%, but still was larger than the percentage reported by three other agencies).

“Our scorecard model is our word in action,” said HP CCO Karen Kahn. “Diversity and inclusion have been core tenets since HP’s inception almost 80 years ago. Our commitment to it will never change. The only difference now, is that we are holding our agencies to the same high standards that we hold for ourselves. We are proud of the work done thus far but know there is much more to we can do to advance representation and equality.” 

While the industry overall still lags in diversity and inclusion, Tuesday’s scorecard was a notable improvement over last year’s, report, which found that HP agencies were ahead of the curve in hiring and promoting women, but failed to meet their minority hiring goals. At an open forum (pictured), Lucio challenged agency leaders to step up their efforts.

The diversity report is part of HP’s effort to drive systematic change around diversity and inclusion across-the-board, from in-house to agency and beyond. Earlier this year, HP unveiled data proving its agency diversity initiative was having a positive impact on the quality of the creative and on consumer engagement. Research found HP ads created after the scorecard was launched resulted in a six point increase in purchase intent.