Advertising giant WPP will eliminate about 7,200 jobs this year, or about 6 percent of its total workforce, according to The Financial Times. The news of the cuts come less than a week after WPP reported worse than expected first-quarter earnings.
The job cuts are not a surprise. During the company’s earnings call, executives had said that WPP’s top priority was “balancing the likely fall in revenues against staff costs and headcount.” And The Guardian reported in January that WPP was planning to lay off “thousands” this year. Other advertising firms have also cut staff, including Omnicom, which said in December that it would lay off between three and four percent of its workforce.
About half of the positions that are set to be eliminated at WPP this year were actually already cut during the first quarter, the FT reports. In fact, WPP said that it had 109,408 employees at the end of March, down two percent from a year ago. WPP’s worst-performing markets — Europe and the U.S. — are expected to bear the brunt of the cutbacks.
WPP’s first-quarter revenues were down about 5.8 percent, when currency fluctuations were taken into account. CEO Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured, right) said last week that the company had “under-forecasted what was going to happen.” However, Sorrell also maintained that he expected a recovery next year.