In addition to statutory reporting, WPP publishes the consolidated data for all its companies in the UK with 250 or more employees. This shows a median pay gap for the WPP network1 of 14.9% (2017 14.6%). The equivalent national figure (according to the Office of National Statistics) is 17.9%2. WPP’s mean pay gap is 23.7% (2017 25.5%).
WPP has approximately 14,000 employees (excluding associates) in the UK and a gender-balanced workforce of 51% men and 49% women. However, there are fewer women in senior executive roles, where pay is highest, resulting in a gender pay gap. This imbalance reflects the wider industry: the 2018 Diversity Study by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising showed that only 32.7% of C-suite roles in the UK are held by women.
To improve gender balance in its leadership teams, WPP continues to invest in best practice initiatives and programmes that advance the development of its female leaders and create a stronger and more diverse talent pipeline.
As an industry leader with the creative power to help change how society views women, WPP also aims to raise awareness of important gender equality issues through external partnerships and the work it creates. The report outlines some of these initiatives, which include WPP’s partnership with UN Women and its support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 (to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK Country Manager, said: “Championing an inclusive culture across WPP is a cornerstone of our new strategy. Diversity of views, background and experience results in better working environments and better work for clients. “WPP’s external industry partnerships and the work we create help influence and challenge society’s perceptions of women and the gender inequality they face.
“However, there is much more work to do to accelerate the progression of WPP’s female leaders. Globally around half of our senior management are women, but we need to increase the pace of change to improve gender balance at the very highest leadership levels by focusing on programmes that create a stronger female talent pipeline.”