Ewan Larkin Ruderman
Jun 29, 2023

Edelman lays off 4% of workforce

Most of the cuts, which affect 240 staffers, impact senior-level employees

Edelman in 2019 in London. Photo credit: Getty Images
Edelman in 2019 in London. Photo credit: Getty Images

Edelman has laid off 4% of its global workforce, or about 240 employees, according to an internal memo seen by PRWeek. 


Edelman CEO Richard Edelman cited macroeconomic conditions in the memo as the reason for the job cuts, but did not mention specific client or sector pullback. He added that senior staffers were mostly impacted. 


In November, Edelman implemented a “strategic review” of its workforce, instituting a hiring freeze and limiting travel for non-client activities and firm-sponsored events.


“Although we paused hiring over the last several months, this wasn’t enough to counterbalance the hiring we did to meet the post-pandemic surge of business,” he said in Wednesday’s memo. “In an 18-month period from January 2021 to June 2022, we added 25% more people to meet the unprecedented growth, but with the slowing of the economy, some regions now have a top-heavy structure.” 


“To operate from a position of strength in FY24, we will restore the classic pyramid structure that is the model for the professional services industry. We will reorganise to better meet the needs of our clients, working seamlessly across regions, practices, sectors, specialties and solutions,” Edelman added. 


The agency declined additional comment.


The world’s largest PR agency will support outgoing colleagues in their career transitions and provide an additional six months of ComPsych, an employee assistance program, in addition to separation pay.

“This is a hard day for the firm, but I want all of you to know that I am confident in our future,” Edelman said. “Our business continues to see growth, significant success and opportunity, but we must recalibrate today in order to continue to invest in our future.” 


“We are a firm built on the premise of family ownership, and together we’ll focus on supporting one another and rallying as only we can to enable clients to meet the needs of their customers and serve the broader society,” he said. 


Edelman is the latest in a series of firms cutting back on their workforces this year. WE laid off “less than 5%” of its staff this month. Praytell let go of fewer than 10 employees in May. Weber Shandwick eliminated the roles of just under two dozen staff members in late February. 


Edelman reported a revenue increase of 10% to $1.07 billion globally and 14% increase to $703 million in the U.S. in 2022, according to PRWeek’s 2023 Agency Business Report. In 2022, the firm became the first PR agency to pass the $1 billion revenue mark as it celebrated its 70th anniversary.


Edelman acquired Brussels-based public affairs shop Landmark Public Affairs in March. Edelman Global Advisory bought Brazilian government relations firm Distrito in February. 


(This article first appeared on PRWeek.com)

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