Bureau of Labor Statistics data show employment in advertising and related services stable in '04, down 1% from the '03 average. The top 5 represent 16.2% of the industry.
Worldwide, the five remained level at nearly 211,000, a number likely to grow next year, assuming WPP's deal to buy Grey Global Group goes through. That acquisition could run WPP's worldwide headcount to a leading 68,000.
For the first nine months of '04 , Interpublic's costs for salary and related expenses were up 5.8% to 60.5% of revenue, and Omnicom's salary and service costs climbed 16.8% to 70.5% of revenue. In first-half '04, WPP's staff costs (excluding incentives) were down slightly to 56% of revenue, Publicis' payroll hit 58.4% of revenue vs. 58.8% last year, and Havas' staff costs were 55.8% of revenue vs. 59.5% in '03.
Flat to rising ratios reflect higher payroll, moderate job growth and lower severance than in '03 against revenue depressed by the dollar.