Holding Companies Put Some Numbers To 2020 Staff Reductions

It’s no secret that the pandemic has taken its toll on Adland staffing levels. Forrester has estimated that the industry will shed 52,000 jobs through 2021.

Now Omnicom and Interpublic have put some numbers behind the staff cuts made in 2020 in recently issued annual reports.

Omnicom Group reported a headcount reduction for the year of approximately 6,000 and total severance paid of $150 million. At year end its workforce totaled 64,100.

IPG reported paying severance to 1,520 employees while its total workforce at year-end 2020 was 50,200. That was about 4,100 less than the prior year.

Other major holding companies including WPP and Publicis have indicated that they too have had to make some staff cuts and/or furloughs over the past year.

And in December Dentsu said international operation — including agencies like Carat, and mcgarrybowen — would shed 12.5% of its workforce, or about 6,000 jobs as a result of an ongoing reorganization.  



The good news: the holding companies reporting year-end results so far (Publicis, Omnicom and IPG) are projecting a return to growth in 2021 as clients start to spend more on media and accompanying ad campaigns.  More work is likely to translate to at least some hiring. M&A activity, while tepid last year, isn’t going away and will also add to agency and holding company employee ranks.



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