BLM response: Publicis Groupe UK

The group has started collecting ethnicity data from its staff in line with GDPR requirements and expects to be able to share its data in October.

BLM response: Publicis Groupe UK

New initiatives

In June, our Embrace group, which represents BAME employees at Publicis Groupe UK, held safe spaces and events for colleagues who were affected by racism and were distressed by the events in the US, and the systemic racism that they highlighted.

At the start of July, we published our “Embrace Change” actions to promote diversity within the Groupe and our agencies, and across the industry. The plan is designed to attract more people from diverse backgrounds into the industry, remove barriers to entry and create a culture that supports people from under-represented groups as they progress through the workforce and into leadership roles.

The programme is the result of Groupe-wide collaboration that culminated in a day of talks, workshops and planning on 17 June, and has involved more than 1,800 people from around our 27 Groupe agencies. The actions cover new policies, procedures, programmes and metrics that will together drive change.

The commitments made in the plan cover systemic changes, which will create the infrastructure needed to actively advance racial equality in Publicis Groupe UK and the industry. At the end of July, we shared the progress we’ve made with our 5,000 UK employees. The actions include:

  • Starting to capture ethnicity data from 2 July onwards, which we’re on track to share in October, and will follow up with actions to increase ethnic minority talent across the business, particularly in leadership positions.

  • A newly created role for a diversity & inclusion officer at Publicis Groupe UK. We’re now at interview stage, and we’ll make this appointment shortly. This person will be supported by diversity and inclusion champions who have been appointed at every agency.

  • The creation of a Publicis Groupe UK Charter that sets out the behaviours that the company requires of employees, suppliers, partners and clients. The charter will be included in contracts from 2021.

  • We’ve become a signatory of the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter and we are now rolling out its learning framework through a series of courses on D&I issues.

Publicis Groupe UK has created the 14-strong Publicis Groupe UK Diversity Council, which will provide external input and help the company make and track progress against its commitments. The Council will hold its first meeting in October. Lord Woolley, founder and director of Operation Black Vote and chair of the advisory group for the Government’s Race Disparity Unit, will join The Diversity Progress Council alongside five Publicis Groupe UK employees (from Embrace and the ComEx working group), seven senior clients and another D&I specialist.

In addition to these systemic changes, Publicis Groupe UK outlined a series of programmes firstly to inspire, then to enable and ultimately to progress diverse talent through the business. These include:

  • An ‘Open Apprenticeship’ programme, initially planned to start in January 2021, has been fast tracked for launch in October.  The programme will reach young people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds, with 10 new job offers every year, and outreach to thousands of young people who will be given the opportunity to learn about the industry.

  • A full review of recruitment processes and partners, with inclusion front of mind.

  • A comprehensive new training programme with external partners including Brixton Finishing School, Creative Equals, D&I Leaders and Bloom Training & Development.

  • Creating a group of ‘safe people’ who are available to provide advice and lend support, and an ongoing series of ‘safe space’ events.

Publicis Groupe UK will track its progress on meeting its commitments by the capturing of ethnicity data, and through annual workplace surveys that ask employees how likely they are to recommend Publicis Groupe UK as a place to work to someone of their own race. The plan has been led by a core team reporting to Annette King

Existing initiatives

In 2017, we launched our ‘Pioneers’ apprenticeship programme to expand the pool of talent coming into Publicis Groupe UK’s media agencies. In 2019, we had 48 new apprentices, more than half of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds. The programme provides a bursary scheme to help the apprentices get set up to live and work in London. Now well established, the programme has seen high levels of retention and created huge value for the business as well as helping us reach a more diverse group of candidates. Our ambition is to increase the intake to 100 in 2021 in our media practice, and to expand the programme to include placements across our health, creative, influence and production practices.

At Leo Burnett, we have a casting policy in place to promote diverse talent in front of and behind the camera. This policy is clearly stated on all our casting briefs which are shared with clients and production companies.

In 2019 we created ‘The Collective’, a team within Spark Foundry that focuses on black culture. The team hosts events throughout the year to educate colleagues and promote discussion on a number of topics including racial equality.

BAME pay gap

We haven’t recorded ethnicity pay data historically so we aren’t in a position to share this. We are now collecting ethnicity data in line with GDPR requirements. Our ambition is to publish the data later this year.

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