WPP’s US, UK Diversity Reports Reiterate There’s “Still Much Work To Do”

WPP’s US, UK Diversity Reports Reiterate There’s “Still Much Work To Do”
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



WPP has released its first US workforce diversity report, revealing the world’s largest agency holding company still has “a huge amount of work to do” to close the gap.

The findings, revealed in WPP’s publicly available Sustainability Report 2020, show that 6.5 per cent of its US employees are Black or African American; 12 per cent are Asian; 9.9 per cent are Hispanic or Latino; and just 2.7 per cent are categorised as of ‘Two or more races/others’.

At the highest ranks within WPP, 3.9 per cent of its US senior or executive level managers are Black or African American; 6.9 per cent are Asian; 6.4 per cent are Hispanic or Latino; and 1.9 per cent are categorised as of ‘Two or more races/others’.

The data covers WPP’s entire US workforce of 21,000 people and treats full- and part-time employees the same. The company is currently developing a centralised system for gathering and reporting ethnicity data, with the company’s US and UK data sets currently not directly comparable.

In the UK, where data collected reflects 90 per cent of WPP’s workforce who have disclosed their ethnicity on a confidential basis, 8.8 per cent of employees are of ‘Unknown or undisclosed’ ethnicity.

However, the findings of this data set show that 4.1 per cent of employees are Black; 8.2 per cent are Asian; 2.8 per cent are of mixed ethnicity; and 4.2 per cent are marked as from ‘Other’ ethnicities.

WPP plans to continue releasing its numbers on diversity annually, to track advancements made against several company-wide initiatives. One of the most notable is that WPP will now include diversity and inclusion goals in the annual bonus plans of its leadership.

The company said in its sustainability report that these numbers will be included within bonus plans for the 2021 calendar year, and progress made against those goals will be reviewed on a regular basis.

WPP has also committed to invest US$30 million over three years to fund inclusion programs within the company and to support external organisations.

The news comes after WPP chief executive Mark Read said in August last year that there was a “huge amount of work to do” on equalising diversity in WPP’s workplaces, along with announcing a number of actions the company would take to address this.

With its latest numbers released on diversity in the US and UK, B&T has sought comment from WPP AUNZ regarding the company’s regional diversity figures.

The findings of WPP’s sustainability report also reveal the company has “made good progress on gender diversity” with 55 per cent of its employees identifying as female.

Women now occupy more executive leadership roles at WPP, with the number of women at Board and Executive level increasing to 40 per cent in 2020, up from 37 per cent in 2019.




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