Publicis reveals diversity data and outlines 7 actions to improve equality

Publicis Group has vowed to take seven actions toward a more inclusive workplace.

CEO Arthur Sadoun outlined the pledge in an internal memo on Wednesday which reveals the holding company’s diversity numbers.

The data, which includes close to 21,000 employees who self-reported their ethnicity, shows that 5.4 percent of its workforce in the U.S. is black. This includes eight percent in junior levels, 4.6 percent in mid-level positions and 1.9 percent at the senior leadership level.

Sadoun said: “What has become clear is that too many initiatives and disparate efforts without focus does not drive the necessary impact to truly change things. That is why today we deliberately want to take fewer but stronger actions with on-going measurement and accountability.

“Our actions need to drive diversity and inclusion in all its forms, across all minorities and identities. We must also acknowledge the urgency and the intensity that affect the black community in the US. So, if our strategy needs to focus on our priorities, we will never lose sight of the fact that Publicis must include everyone.”

The steps include: publishing and monitoring its own data; cultivating the careers of black talent; designing a recruitment, interviewing and onboarding experience that champions black talent; building a culture of strong ally-ship; focusing on investment; launching an open internship on Marcel; creating a Diversity Progress Council.

All of these are explained in detail in Sadoun’s note below.


Publish and monitor our data

One of the most common requests from our “Pausing for Action” day was to release our data. So, despite French privacy laws, which ban under penalty of sanctions the collection and use of ethnicity data, we have worked hard over the last two weeks on a process to properly disclose data for our U.S. workforce.

Our data includes close to 21,000 employees who self-reported their ethnicity. As you can see below, this reveals that 5.4% of our workforce in the US is Black. This includes 8% in junior levels, 4.6% in mid-level positions and 1.9% at the senior leadership level.

These statistics, based on existing self-declared information, are within a similar range of that of other holding companies. It further illuminates the two critical issues for Black talent (1) access to our industry and (2) career path to leadership positions.

Going forward, we are committed to measuring progress and releasing our data every year. This means we want to improve the accuracy and completeness of our data, so we will be encouraging the employees who have not yet self-reported their ethnicity to do so in the near future.


Cultivate the careers of our black talent

We will be intentional about cultivating the careers of Black talent across all roles within our organization. To do so, we will ensure there is a defined career path and plan for each of our Black talents. Through structured career development programs, mentorship & personalized coaching, we will invest in individual growth, career progression, and create clear pathways to leadership for Black talent. Access to opportunities, rate of promotion and metrics related to overall career development will be monitored, measured and also reviewed.


Design a recruitment, interviewing and onboarding experience that champions black talent

We will provide greater access for Black talent by designing an unmatched talent pipeline experience that champions them.

We will scale and aggregate current and new partnerships across historically Black colleges, local community schools and specific organizations. We will work with sourcing experts from the multicultural community. We will also review our processes and train parties involved to make sure we are screening, interviewing and hiring with inclusion and diversity in mind.


Build a culture of strong ally-ship

We will make “disrupting everyday bias training” required for all Publicis employees. This consists of 3 learning tracks: Understanding Everyday Bias, Inclusive Leadership from Any Seat, Bystander Intervention Training. This training has already started but will be available to all agencies by January 2021.


Focus our investment

We will invest 45 million euros over three years on Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. In addition to our existing programs, it will fund our commitment to training our Black talent, allies and leaders. By pooling and concentrating our investment, we can drive real impact. More specifically, this will fund the new training programs, extend proprietary programs such as MCTP, subsidize critical partnerships, pipeline and apprenticeship development and support our relationships with NGOs and institutions fighting against racism and inequalities.


Launch Open Apprenticeship on Marcel

We will launch a virtual apprenticeship on the Marcel platform that serves minority youth who typically do not have access or exposure to our industry. The apprenticeship will consist of how-to guides, online lessons, live workshops, networking, mentoring and gig opportunities for all its members. In its first year, the Marcel Apprenticeship will target and be pushed to 1,000 young people in the UK and the US, with a commitment to hire 50 people each year.


Create the Diversity Progress Council

In order to measure progress and evaluate our actions on an on-going basis, we are creating the DPC – Diversity Progress Council. This council marries diverse experience, internal and external views, as well as the passion and courage of youth. It will be composed of Publicis Groupe members, key clients, academic and youth representatives. The first meeting of this council will be held in September.


Voilà, tomorrow we have Q&A sessions with 2,000 of your leaders in the US. We know that people will respond differently to these measures, as there is no silver bullet or perfect solution. But we will answer all of their questions, as always, and make sure they’re aligned with executing this plan. I encourage you to reach out to them if you have any questions to contribute.

I want to thank you again for your outstanding engagement in the last weeks.

You have shown courage and compassion, motivation and drive.

I am conscious that these actions represent only the first step in a long journey, but you can count on my full commitment to implement them with all of you and create a truly diverse environment that we can all be proud of.

I am sure I can count on each and every one of you too.

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