WPP as an employer

There is intense competition for talent in our industry. To make sure we get the best, we have developed rigorous recruitment processes, attractive working conditions, rewarding training opportunities and the ability to harness the rich diversity that our 175,000 people (including associates) around the world offer. The central WPP talent team supports companies to implement and share best practices.

Diversity and inclusion

Our emphasis on inclusion and diversity enables us to widen our talent pool and, with a client base that is itself enormously diverse, we are better placed to meet client needs and to understand and connect with consumers in every market and every niche.

Our non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies are included in our Group Code of Conduct. In the case of disability, our policy is to provide continuing employment and training wherever practicable.

It is essential that women are able to fulfil their potential during their careers with Group companies, including reaching the upper echelons of management in the Group. Women make up 29% of the WPP Board, 32% of executive leaders and 47% of senior managers. We have launched a number of innovative programs to further enable their development, at both the local and global levels.

To reach out to a diverse candidate pool, many of our companies offer apprenticeships and internships, use specialist recruitment agencies and publications, and attend minority recruitment fairs.

Gender diversity 2009-2013

% women
2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
WPP Board 29 19 19 19 21
Executive leaders 32 32 31 31 32
Senior managers 47 47 47 48 46
Other employees 56 57 57 57 57
Total employees 54 54 54 54 54

Gender 2013

Male Female Total Male % Female %
WPP Board 12 5 17 71 29
Executive leaders 3,465 1,634 5,099 68 32
Senior managers 9,318 8,145 17,463 53 47
Other employees 42,341 54,213 96,554 44 56
Total employees 55,124 63,992 119,116 46 54

Training and skills

We invest in a huge range of high-quality bespoke training opportunities to develop our people’s skills, and to help our business grow in areas such as digital marketing. Our spend on training and well-being programs amounted to £64.4 million in 2013 (2012: £57.8m).

Group-wide training programs include:

  • Maestro: Orchestrating Client Value: a week-long program for senior client leaders, held in 26 countries, with more than 3,100 participants from 108 WPP companies since its launch in 2003.
  • The WPP ‘Mini MBA’: an online and classroom course to build business skills. 1,875 participants have benefited from the program.
  • WPP Spectrum: a program that connects and develops multidisciplinary global client leaders.
  • First Chair: aimed at rising talent.
  • Digital Way Forward: covers what’s new in digital marketing.
  • The X Factor: prepares women for the next level of leadership in the Group.

Education and social mobility

Our businesses support education to help build the skills we need into our future talent pool and to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to take up careers in marketing services. This includes internships, apprenticeships and partnerships such as our support for the WPP School of Communications and Marketing in Shanghai, which is building skills in a critical and growing market for WPP.

Remuneration and share ownership

We have designed our compensation packages to secure the best people and we benchmark them against those of other companies in our markets and sectors.

Many employees participate in performance-related incentive plans on top of their base pay. Senior employees may participate in share-based compensation plans. Incentive plans are designed to reward excellent performance in the senior employee’s operational business area or in the share price performance of the Company. The Company also provides a range of other benefits, including pensions and private health insurance, in accordance with local practice.

Since 1997, we have operated a Worldwide Ownership Plan that has granted share awards to more than 129,000 employees. In 2013 approximately 50,000 eligible employees received awards in over 69 countries.

Health and well-being

Our companies help their people to remain healthy and work to mitigate any health and safety risks. As an office-based business, the main health and safety risks to our people are injuries connected to workstation ergonomics and work-related stress.

Companies operate their own health and safety management systems, which may include Health and Safety Committees, regular audits and risk assessments and training for employees. Over 74% of our companies have nominated someone with specific responsibility for health and safety.

In 2013, there were on average 3.5 days per employee lost to due to sickness.

Employee external appointments

We recognise that our companies’ executives may be invited to become non-executive directors of other companies, and that such experience may be beneficial to the Group. Consequently, executives are allowed to accept non-executive appointments with non-competing companies, subject to obtaining the approval of the Group finance director in the case of senior executives.

Chapter 9 of 13