Redundancies are expected across the creative, media, health, production and PR outlets of Publicis UK – which currently employs around 5,000 nationwide – due to concerns around coronavirus.

The economic slump due to the pandemic and resulting lockdown has led to the agency network considering job cuts, having reported a fall in revenue of nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2020, even before the worst of the downturn was apparent.

Global cost-reduction plan

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Parent company Publicis Groupe, which has international reach, implemented a global cost-reduction plan worth €500 million (£435 million). It has not been decided yet what job cuts will be made, but a consultation is set to be entered into from next week.

Executive voluntary pay cut

Publicis Groupe’s UK leaders on the executive committee took a voluntary 20% salary cut in response to the COVID-19 outbreak; other senior leaders have accepted a 15% reduction, while those paid more than £100,000 will be asked to give up 10% of their salaries.

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Publicis UK already froze recruitment in March, and the vast majority of other similar operators have taken similar measures of cutting costs, reducing salaries and implementing redundancies.

Publicis.Sapient and Kekst CNC will not be subject to the UK cuts because of their international management.

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Annette King, Chief Executive of Publicis UK, said in a memo:

“We will continue to do everything we possibly can to reduce costs and protect as many jobs as possible, but unfortunately, despite all our combined efforts, we will still have to make redundancies in some parts of our business.

“We’ve taken the same approach across the Groupe, with the exception of Sapient, so that everyone is treated fairly, whichever part of the business they’re in.”