We seek to recruit and retain the best, developing our people’s skills so we can continue to deliver the service our clients expect, wherever they are in the world.

We invest in high-quality training, competitive remuneration and employee development and wellbeing. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion helps us to recruit and retain talented people from all backgrounds.

Celia Berk

Chief talent officer

Young & Rubicam Group

Talent: entry points, diversity and industry-leading practices

In focus: Training & education

High-quality training builds the skills of our people. For example, WPP Spectrum gives employees the skills, knowledge and expertise to become multidisciplinary global client leaders, running our largest client accounts. Our new Africa Leadership Training supports growth in our business in sub-Saharan Africa.

We invest in education to grow our future talent pool and encourage young people from all backgrounds to take up careers in marketing. We set up the WPP School of Communications and Marketing in Shanghai to train new talent in this important market for WPP.

In the UK, the WPP Microfellowship brings in new minority candidates who might not have considered the marketing communications industry.

Key facts and data

  • 165,000

    WPP employees (including associates)

    (2011: 158,000)

  • £57.8m

    investment in training & wellbeing in 2012 (2011: £58.3m)

  • 118,000

    employees have been granted share awards since 1997

  • 3,000

    offices in 110 countries worldwide


  • 54%

    total female employees in 2012

    (2011: 54%)

  • 3.4

    days lost due to sickness per employee in 2012 (2011: 3.3)

Workplace diversity helps our companies to attract and retain the best talent from all backgrounds and enhances our understanding of consumers and clients.

Gender diversity chart
Ethnic diversity chart

In our companies

  • Diversity and inclusion

    Y&R Italy – Progetto Itaca

    Progetto Itaca is a mental health charity offering support to individuals and families. Y&R Italy has supported the charity since 2007 working on a number of communication campaigns on a pro bono basis.

    In early 2008, Y&R Italy decided to employ an individual through the organisation. They hired Renato Rovelli, someone who had suffered from mental health issues including depression, for over 20 years. Renato, who still works at Y&R today, was employed in the HR department and was initially supported by a tutor from Progetto Itaca to help his integration within the company. The experience has been hugely positive for everyone involved. Not only has the job helped Renato tackle his psychiatric issues, but he has become a valued team member at Y&R Italy.

    In 2012, Y&R Italy worked pro bono for Progetto Itaca to raise awareness of World Mental Health Day and encourage people to speak out about mental health conditions. Working with MEC, Y&R created a press, outdoor and TV campaign inviting people to make a minute of noise, instead of a minute of silence. The campaign succeeded in increasing the number of calls to the Progetto Itaca helpline by 400% and increased the number of visits to the Progetto Itaca website by 63%. In February 2013, Y&R Italy launched its latest pro bono ad for Progetto Itaca called Silent Movie. The clip was screened at a charity event attended by over 500 business leaders and public figures and subsequently put on air. Silent Movie helped to further boost calls to the Progetto Itaca hotline.


    I would like to thank Y&R for its support and enthusiasm... Your professionalism has allowed us to explain to the world how important schemes like Progetto Itaca are in just a few minutes, which is a feat in itself.”

    Beatrice Bergamasco
    Progetto Itaca

  • Training and development

    GroupM Asia Pacific – Aspire

    Aspire is GroupM Asia Pacific’s award-winning learning and development division, helping the group develop the talents of its people and attract the best employees.

    Four full-time regional trainers work across APAC to create and deliver training to address business needs. The regional team comprises senior industry leaders and have additional qualifications in areas such as facilitation, neuro-linguistic programming and coaching. Training takes place across all levels with an emphasis on developing role model leaders. In 2012, there were 19 new training modules launched and the team conducted over 200 days of training which resulted in delivering the business over $1.5 million in value for the year.

    The regional team works with a network of over 120 dedicated and part-time trainers (those who have taken the responsibility for training their office on top of their day job). This enables 95% of all training to be conducted internally, reducing the need for external providers.

    In 2012, Aspire won the Employer Branding Awards – Award for Excellence in Training, Asian L&D Leadership Award – Best Leadership Training Programme, Asian L&D Leadership Award – Best Workplace Trainer Training Programme and Asian HR Leadership Award – Best in Training and Organisational Development.


    The training programs I have experienced have been great... we can never have enough so please keep the options coming through... they are massively appreciated by the local teams and extremely beneficial in keeping morale up and reducing attrition... as well as clearly bringing the skill levels up.”

    Ed Thesiger
    GroupM Indonesia

  • Training and development

    Apprenticeship programs

    Many WPP companies in the UK operate formal apprenticeship schemes. Cohn & Wolfe is hosting two apprentices in partnership with the PRCA, the professional body for UK PR firms. The Futures Company takes on one apprentice a year from City Gateway, a charity that provides training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged youngsters. 

    In 2013, MEC, Mindshare and JWT are taking on two apprenticeships via the IPA creative pioneers scheme. The scheme is endorsed by UK Government and offers successful applicants a 12 month apprenticeships in the creative, digital, advertising and PR sectors, leading to an industry-recognised qualification and the opportunity for permanent employment.

    MediaCom London’s government-backed apprenticeship scheme, launched in 2012, enables 10 apprentices aged 18-24 to work at MediaCom for a year whilst studying for an NVQ in Marketing and Communications. At the end of the apprenticeship, the candidates are encouraged to apply for a permanent job at the agency. MediaCom is working with charities involved with youth in underprivileged areas to encourage diverse applicants. The training program sees each candidate rotate around agency departments three times during the course of the year. Through the scheme, MediaCom hopes to identify new sources of talent for the agency and diversify its workforce to ensure they are able to effectively engage with all sectors of society. 

    MediaCom CEO, Karen Blackett, featured in a radio ad campaign for the National Apprenticeship Service to help other employers understand the many benefits to taking on apprentices.

  • Diversity and inclusion

    Kantar France – Disability

    Kantar Worldpanel and Kantar Media France have made the recruitment and retention of disabled employees a priority. This reflects legislation in France and the companies’ recognition of the contribution made by disabled people in the workplace. The company board, line managers, HR team and other employees complete mandatory training on the company’s policies for disabled staff and regulation in this area. Awareness campaigns and events highlight the contribution of people with disabilities, and inform staff how to get advice and help. The companies work in partnership with specialists to provide support to disabled employees, for example by making physical adjustments to work stations. Targeted recruitment has enabled the company to recruit seven people with disabilities to join its teams. As a result of its focus on creating an inclusive environment, a further 10 existing employees have registered their disability and accessed support services.

  • Safety, health and wellbeing

    Ogilvy & Mather New York – h2o

    Ogilvy & Mather New York’s office is not just a stimulating and creative workplace, but its facilities have also been designed with employee fitness and wellbeing in mind. Through Happy Healthy Ogilvy (h2o), the site’s wellness program, employees have access to a medical centre where nurses carry out physical and well-woman exams, write prescriptions and help to manage health conditions. Employees can make use of on-site immunisations and screening programs such as skin cancer and podiatry. They can also visit a counsellor to help deal with any issues including stress at work. To support new mothers returning to the workplace, there are two private lactation rooms with storage fridges.

    The site also includes a fitness centre with a fully-equipped gym, rooftop yoga classes and a massage therapist who visits twice a week. During 2012 a new awareness campaign was launched called ‘A Quarter is Change’ to educate staff on how to maintain good health through exercise, diet and preventative healthcare. The garage holds 50 bikes for employees to use for errands, meetings or just to take a spin by the Hudson River.


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