A 2015 report that found ethnic and gender diversity is good for US business has been influential, but progress is still glacial

Last year, in a pitch to competing ad agencies, the US food giant General Mills stipulated that agencies must be staffed with at least 50% women and 20% people of colour in their creative departments to win its business.

The directive felt like a watershed: the company behind brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Cheerios and Yoplait with nearly $18bn (£13.4bn) in annual sales abruptly demanding that the companies which fashion its public image have to be proactive in creating diverse workforces.

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