Preparing for a Diverse Ad Industry Future: Advantages and Challenges for First-Generation College Students

Olsen et al. / Advertising & Society Quarterly / October 2021

Group of people at table

Frequently coming from diverse and lower income backgrounds, first-generation college students (FGCS) may be a key demographic for improving the general lack of diversity that plagues the advertising industry. As such, understanding and supporting FGCS within strategic communication programs is increasingly important. Using a mixed method approach through two studies, the current investigation suggests that FGCS are more planful, organized, and focused than their non-FGCS counterparts. The absence of support and knowledge of career exploration from parents or guardians causes these students to be more self-reliant and proactive, which improves their ability to successfully self-manage their career trajectories within the advertising industry.