WPP CEO Mark Read released the holding company's U.S. staff diversity makeup data in an email to employees on Thursday and announced the appointment of an inclusion council and taskforce "to give particular focus to the challenges facing our Black colleagues and communities in North America."
This comes as an update to the holding company's previous commitment to taking "decisive action on each of the 12 points in the 'Call for Change'" open letter from 600 & Rising. Announced on Juneteenth, WPP also said at the time it would be investing $30 million over the next three years to fund inclusion programs within the holding company and support external organizations fighting racism.
Read said in his Thursday memo that, "in the past, there has not been a single, consistent approach to the collection of this [diversity] data across our different agencies and markets, nor has it been independently audited—which typically we require of all data we report as a public company. We are working urgently on a more robust, centralized system of gathering and reporting ethnicity data (in those markets where we are allowed to collect it), which we will publish annually in our Sustainability Report," he said.
"However, in the interests of transparency and timeliness," Read said WPP is sharing "the information we do have for the U.S. now."
According to Thursday's memo, 2.2 percent of WPP's U.S. senior and executive-level managers, 4.1 percent of all mid-level managers, 6.4 percent of professionals, and 6.2 percent of all employees are Black or African American. WPP reported 5.7 percent of U.S. senior and executive-level managers, 9.9 percent of mid-level managers, 15 percent of professionals and 11.7 percent of all employees are Asian.
Per the email, 5.8 percent of WPP's U.S. senior and executive-level managers, 9.3 percent of mid-level managers, 8.7 percent of professionals and 9.4 percent of all employees are Hispanic or Latinx. WPP reported 85 percent of U.S. senior and executive-level managers, 74.8 percent of mid-level managers, 67 percent of professionals and 70.2 percent of all employees are white.