Racial equity commitments

In June 2020, we made a number of commitments to advance racial equity. While we have made some good progress towards these commitments, we recognise there is still much work to do. This will be an ongoing effort across our company.

We have acknowledged that we need to improve ethnicity representation at all levels of the company, especially at senior and leadership levels. We launched our diverse slate policy in 2020 in the UK and US as one concrete step towards this goal and have undertaken a review of our hiring practices and policies to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are systematically embedded throughout.

To underline the importance of our commitments and to ensure accountability, we are also including diversity and inclusion goals in the annual bonus plans of our leadership across WPP. These will be included within bonus plans for the 2021 calendar year, and progress made against those goals will be reviewed on a regular basis.

Over the past year we have also grown our network of DEI leaders across our agencies highlighting our commitment to sustained momentum. These leaders, along other champions of DEI across our operating companies continue to help us drive and accelerate the change we need to see.

Our People teams and leaders around the world have received – and will continue to receive – training on anti-bias and training to help them have difficult conversations about race in the workplace. We also launched our bespoke, mandatory Belonging at WPP inclusion training for all staff globally and a Conscious Inclusion programme, to raise our awareness of unconscious bias.

We have expanded our talent recruiting platforms to include over 300 sites, including HBCU alumni networks and other diverse groups and have partnered with organisations such as the LAGRANT Foundation, The One Club for Creativity, RARE Recruitment and Brixton Finishing School to help build a more diverse future talent pool.

Last year, we launched NextGen Leaders, a virtual learning series for college students and recent graduates and worked in partnership with over 300 non-profits, colleges and universities, including several HBCUs to ensure a diverse cohort, resulting in 55% of the 846 participants being people of colour.

We have implemented and are expanding learning and development opportunities for our employees of colour, including a cross-agency sponsorship programme, Sayge coaching programmes, Elevate, our Fast Forward series and McKinsey’s Leadership and Manager Accelerator Programmes.

Because of our platform and voice, WPP can also spark change far beyond our company through our work for clients and communities. In collaboration with UniWorld, we created the Inclusive Marketing Playbook to enable WPP teams to put inclusive marketing principles and best practice front and centre. We also established our Diversity Review Panel for our people to raise any concerns regarding negative stereotypes in our work so we can ensure an inclusive approach to creativity.

Finally, we will invest $30 million over the next three years to fund inclusion programmes within WPP and to support external organisations. As part of this commitment, we are also offering an employee donation match programme up to $1,000 per person, to a total of $1 million. We will match personal donations by employees to a vetted list of non-profit organisations in support of their commitment to fighting racism, developing talent from underrepresented groups and addressing issues that affect Black communities.

If you work at WPP, you can read more about the progress we’re making against our commitments in our quarterly DEI updates here.