Publicis launches scheme to recruit underrepresented voices into data

The scheme forms part of Publicis’s wider DE&I strategy

Publicis has launched a scheme offering young people from marginalized communities paid internships and job opportunities in data and commerce roles at Publicis Groupe UK.

The six-month paid internship is designed to give school leavers a route into design and engineering jobs that previously required a degree. These roles might be in data science, data engineering, commerce, analytics or software.

Publicis Groupe UK has committed to running the scheme every year until at least 2030 and has partnered with Open – a joint venture between Livity and Hidden, designed to replace traditional graduate schemes – to create and deliver the unique program for young people who come from ethnic minority and low social mobility backgrounds.

Every February, a cohort of 10 interns will complete two weeks of onboarding training with Open, followed by workshops and training during a six-month placement program at Publicis Groupe UK. ‘The Innovators’ will complete six training modules covering online marketplace, digital grocery, marketing insights and trends, machine learning (ML) including modeling, convergent modeling and automation. The young people will emerge with the skills needed to get an entry-level job in these areas and the opportunity to secure a role as an apprentice or a junior account executive at Publicis Groupe UK, depending on aptitude and appetite.

Ben Silcox, chief data and product officer for Publicis Groupe UK, says it has designed the program to help the agency find “the innovators of the future.”

“With the help of the experts at Open and their selection process, we’re able to recruit young people based on personality and potential, not academic achievement. ‘The Innovators’ scheme is a sustainable way for us to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into our business, removing some of the traditional barriers to entry, and creating the conditions for them to thrive. We believe that by attracting talented people from a range of backgrounds with different perspectives, the more we can offer our clients.”

Open will provide pastoral care and help ensure the interns get the support they need to thrive, in conjunction with the talent team at Publicis Groupe UK. Senior leaders with data and commerce expertise will lead workshops and mentor the interns during the program.

Kate Johnson, Open program lead at Hidden, says that by scrapping all entry requirements and opening the program up to young people from minority communities, Publicis Groupe UK is “doing something truly unique.”

“The creative industries, and especially data and engineering roles, are normally closed to people who don’t have a degree. This program will allow us to make substantial change where there has historically been a real lack of representation in agencies and creative businesses. We are helping Publicis Groupe UK not only to access this outstanding next gen talent, but also to include and retain these talented individuals in the future.”

The scheme forms part of Publicis’s wider DE&I strategy, which as of May 2021 focuses on four key areas: gender, race, disability inclusion and and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

This strategy is built on the Embrace Change program, introduced by Publicis Groupe UK in July 2020 to promote diversity across its business and the industry.