2020 Annual Financial Report

4.1 Talent

Chapter 4 : Corporate social responsibility – non-financial performance

4.1 Talent

2020 was a complex year for the Groupe’s employees, who quickly switched to working from home when their countries or regions were faced with restrictions or recommendations that encouraged working from home as much as possible. They have shown adaptability and responded effectively to their clients’ expectations.

4.1.1 key figures

/Breakdown by region and main job category and function







Client Management 

25,0 %


17,4 % 

Creativity & content 

13,1 % 

Support functions  

12,9 %


10,3 %

Data & Tech

8,6 %


4,5 % 


4,2 %


2,8 %


0,9 %


0,2 % 

a) Total headcount in 2020: 79,051 employees.

The net variation of employees is broken down as follows:

  • arrivals: 20,207 in 2020;
  • departures: 24,391 in 2020. These departures are the result of the constant adaptation of the workforce with regard to the reorganization of the Groupe according to the country model, and secondly, to the adjustment of the workforce in view of the decline in activity caused by the global health crisis. Publicis Groupe is a company whose entities and agencies carry out regular adjustments and which always prioritizes internal solutions;
  • turnover 2020: 17.5%.

The staff turnover rate is equal to the cumulative number of voluntary departures of employees with permanent contracts during the year, divided by the average annual number of employees with permanent contracts.

b) The Groupe’s employment contracts are drawn up in compliance with the local legal and regulatory framework, for both permanent contracts and temporary contracts. Depending on the local context and the temporary needs of certain projects, freelance service contracts are drawn up for independent workers, although the use of freelancers in 2020 was strictly limited in order to allow temporarily unoccupied Groupe employees to help other teams.

Employee contracts are broken down as follows:

  • permanent contracts: 93.9% of total workforce; 92.9% of women and 94.9% of men are employed under a permanent contract;
  • temporary contracts: 6.1% of total workforce; 7.1% of women and 5.1% of men are employed under a temporary, fixed-term contract.

Work is organized around project management requirements and is tailored to meet client needs and the expectations of the employees themselves. Working hours are governed locally by laws and regulations. An international internal project on “The Future of Work” was launched in the second half of the year with the consultation of all employees in all countries on the new forms of work to be reinvented, in order to draw lessons from this unusual 2020 year (see Section 4.1.3).

The completion of projects for clients often requires flexibility on the part of employees; in return for this flexibility, the local management of the agencies implements measures to compensate for their efforts and to enable them to have more time during the summer periods (e.g. in summer, Friday afternoons are not worked in several American agencies) or during major holidays, such as in China (Chinese New Year, etc.), India (Diwali, etc.) or the United States (e.g. Thanksgiving, etc.). At the height of the epidemic and lockdowns, 95% of the Groupe’s workforce switched to work from home. For less than 5% of the workforce, on-site presence may be required, particularly in support functions such as the continuity of service of IT teams, or for general service teams in charge of building maintenance and security.

c) The absenteeism rate within the Groupe is estimated at 1.77%(1)