The Partners cut its workforce by almost 20 per cent last week, after instigating eight redundancies across the consultancy.
Five design positions are being dropped in the skills rationalisation process, including one at the design director level; the remainder of the job losses are administrative.
The Partners’ workforce has seen a gradual reduction over the past five years, with UK staff levels of around 85 in 2001 falling to 70 by 2002. Although figures are not available for the last two years due to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the latest cuts take the headcount to just 36.
The consultancy was acquired by WPP in 2000 as part of the takeover of US advertising network Young & Rubicam (DW 19 May 2000).
According to managing partner Jim Prior, the long-term decline in staff reflects the difficult market conditions experienced since 2001, along with the closure of its Australian office and new media division three years ago. ‘The year 2000 was the peak of business for everyone, but we have oscillated around the current [staff] level for a few years and we are working more efficiently,’ says Prior.
The consultancy experienced a slow start to this year after a rise of 20 per cent in turnover and 10 per cent in headcount in 2004. ‘We [had] forecast similar growth for this year, but it hasn’t materialised,’ says Prior.