WPP launches Welcome Talent initiative to diversify talent pipeline in Belgian communications industry

22 Jan 2024

WPP, the world's largest network of communications, advertising and marketing agencies, today launches Welcome Talent in Belgium, an ambitious campaign aimed at making the country’s communications sector more diverse and inclusive.

The company and its agencies are joining forces with local organisations including Please Add Color (PAC), Capital, United Brands Association (UBA), Creative Belgium, ACC Belgium and other educational and media partners.

The pioneering initiative seeks to drive sustainable change within the Belgian communications industry by inspiring entry-level talent from diverse ethnic backgrounds to explore careers in media and communications and provide guidance as they enter the field.

Research highlights the need for Welcome Talent

  • New research commissioned by WPP sheds light on the significant diversity and inclusion challenges facing the communications sector in Belgium:
  • 41% of Belgians from Minority Ethnic backgrounds have little or no awareness of the type of work that communications agencies do.
  • 72% of Belgians from Minority Ethnic backgrounds deem workplace diversity and inclusion important, yet only 38% feel that the sector demonstrates a sufficient commitment to these topics.

Among non-sector workers, 47% find a job in the sector appealing, while just 33% consider pursuing it.

This reflects findings from the WFA’s Global DEI Census which highlighted that 41% of Minority Ethnic respondents in Belgium believe they have encountered barriers to career progression due to their ethnicity, in contrast to just 15% of ethnic majority respondents .

Two flagship initiatives

Welcome Talent responds to these challenges with two primary solutions: first, a public awareness campaign using creative ads in public spaces and partnerships with hairdressers to inform communities unfamiliar with the communications industry about its career opportunities; secondly, a mentoring programme offering three-month internships in the sector, providing participants with mentorship, training, and networking opportunities.

Souhaida Belefkih, a previous intern on the Welcome Talent pilot mentoring programme, shared her experience at WPP’s PR agency Grey Famous Relations: “I am delighted to be part of the Welcome Talent mentoring programme, which not only promotes diversity in the communications sector but also actively seeks to help break down barriers. The programme offers unique opportunities and guidance from experienced mentors. My internship has already given me valuable insights and I look forward to further growth.”

Several partners have joined WPP and its agencies for Welcome Talent, including local organisations Capital, PAC, UBA, ACC Belgium, Creative Belgium, colleges such as Odisee, Erasmus University College, IHECS, PXL, Thomas More, Brussels Government School, and media partners JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Roularta, DPG Media and VRT.

Isabel Van den Broeck at Creative Belgium, a partner of Welcome Talent, said: “At Creative Belgium, we are committed to a more inclusive creative industry. Welcome Talent aligns perfectly with our mission to create opportunities for talented individuals, regardless of their background. Together with WPP and other partners, we are working to create an industry that reflects the diversity and inclusion of our society.”

Gio Canini, Country Manager of WPP in Belgium and Executive Sponsor of the programme, and Delphine Geyskens, Communications Manager and Welcome Talent Project Lead at WPP in Belgium, said: “At WPP, we know that diversity is essential to generating the best creative ideas that lead to ground-breaking work for our clients. With Welcome Talent, we recognise our responsibility and aim to take real steps in the right direction together with our partners to ensure that the communications sector is not only representative but continues to grow as a truly inclusive and inspiring industry to work in.”

The new campaign marks a continued effort by WPP to improve representation in the communications industry and be the employer of choice for all. Welcome Talent follows initiatives including the company’s Racial Equity Programme that committed $30m across three years to programmes that advance racial equity around the world.

For more information on the mentoring programme and on Welcome Talent, visit www.welcometalent.be.

Further information
Louise Lacourarie, WPP
+44 (0)7741 360 931
[email protected]

Delphine Geyskens, WPP
+32 479962400
[email protected]

About WPP
WPP is the creative transformation company. We use the power of creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. For more information, visit www.wpp.com.