Understanding global perception of the technology industry and representation in technology advertising
The #ChangeTheFace initiative was launched in 2020 following a research study which asked participants ‘if technology was a person, what would it look like?’. The results highlighted that the face of technology was perceived to be young, white, middle-class and male. This emphasised the lack of diversity in the industry and made it apparent how important it is to take collective action as an industry to evoke change.
In 2021, a new research study, carried out by Opinium among 7,000 people in nine countries, repeated the original #ChangeTheFace research from in 2019, and also asked participants how they would like the face of technology to look in the future. There was very little change to the characteristics since the first survey, with most respondents claiming that technology would be young, white, middle-class and ‘trendy’. This highlighted that change is not happening quick enough.
Ethnic minorities felt significantly less represented in tech ads than two years ago, with only 44% feeling represented in 2021 compared to 68% in 2019. Half (49%) of ethnic minority respondents still felt that modern technology advertising did not seem to be representative of the people who used it, and only a third (32%) felt that tech adverts are aimed at them, although this has improved from 22% in 2019.
Although older age groups feel more represented in tech ads (38% of 55-64s in 2021 vs 31% in 2019), respondents considered that there was greater representation in products like TV and movie streaming, versus technologies like gaming consoles or virtual reality devices.