Unfortunate, but not unexpected, news. Award-winning Wieden + Kennedy has been forced to release 11% of its global workforce. According to Adweek, the reason given for staff reduction is due to the business impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
W+K’s global network includes the U.K., the Netherlands, Japan, India, China and Brazil, in addition to its two U.S. offices in New York and Portland (its HQ).
“We negotiated this as long as we could, but W+K and Covid-19 have reached an impasse,” the agency said in a statement. “How long this will last seems to be anybody’s guess, so we have had to make some hard choices. We are saying goodbye to people that we love; 11% of our network. Some raised their hands to leave, helping to save the jobs of others. Some received bad news graciously. Voluntary or not, everyone was given the softest landing possible. All of them are a loss to us. Any agency that gets them is lucky.”
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On average, those who lost their jobs are receiving four months of severance in addition to tenure increases, depending on the policies of each office’s home country.
In a statement, the agency said leadership took pay reductions and cut nonessential spending in March as the pandemic initially began to spread in the United States. Pay was then reduced further “on a sliding scale related to level of earning.”
It was reported some employees left voluntarily “to save the jobs of others.”
W+K is offering former employees four months’ severance on average and extending health benefits through the end of 2020 or longer, depending on tenure.
“Voluntary or not,” the statement reads, “everyone was given the softest landing possible.
In the U.S., W+K is extending benefits through the end of 2020. W+K is also assisting with recruiting and job placement resources and services.
Of late, the agency’s New York office has put out work for brands like Ford and McDonald’s, an account the agency won last September.