Bonuses rocket at WPP as the advertising market returns

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 6 August 2021
Credit: Scott Warman

WPP's return to pre-pandemic levels of business has also meant a sharp rise in bonuses paid.

Staff incentives jumped 411% to £244 million in the six months to June, according to numbers released with WPP's first half results.

In the same six months in 2020 -- the worst period of the pandemic -- staff incentives were only £48 million.

Since then, the advertising industry has benefitted from a strong lift in ad spend.

WPP posted like-for-like revenue up 16.1% in the six months to June and 26.4% in the three months to June. LFL revenue less pass-through costs was 11%, about 0.5% higher than the first half in 2019.

Reported revenue for the half year was up 9.8% to £6.133 billion.

The company now expects to do better than expected this year. Full year 2021 like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs growth is now expected to be up 9%-10%.

CEO Mark Read: "We have significantly increased our incentive pools in the first half, to reflect the tremendous contribution of our people in these challenging times, and in line with our intention to reinvest in talent announced at our Capital Markets Day in December 2020.

“We expect our strategy to translate into benefits for all of our stakeholders: a powerful, modern offer to support our clients’ growth; a great place for our people to work; a positive contribution to communities and the environment; and good financial returns for shareholders, with the interim dividend raised 25% and £600 million of share buybacks planned in 2021.”

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