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London agents affected as WME reduces staff by 20%

Endeavor cutbacks have hit WME in the UK, where across all agencies nearly three quarters of staff are furloughed

By IQ on 11 May 2020

WME London New Oxford Street

WME’s London office is on New Oxford St

image © Thor Equities

Agents, assistants and other support staff at WME’s EMEA headquarters, at 100 New Oxford Street in London, are among those affected by a 20% reduction in the agency’s workforce globally, IQ understands.

Effective today (Monday 11 May), approximately 20% of Hollywood-based WME’s staff are subject to lay-offs, furloughing, or pay and working hours reductions, as the powerhouse agency becomes the latest to slim down its workforce amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Paradigm Talent Agency is known to laid off some 250 staff in the early days of the outbreak, while CAA, UTA and APA have all reduced employee pay; UTA is also believed to have furloughed a number of workers.

WME’s parent company, Endeavor, laid off around 250 non-agents, including gardeners and restaurant workers, in late March.

The latest round of cuts at WME affect employees at all levels, including agents, assistants, partners and executives, although they are understood to have fallen primarily on non-agent executives and support staff.

“While we are making these difficult decisions now to safeguard our business, we believe in the resilience of our team and our industry”

“WME is reducing its workforce by approximately 20% as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our business,” says a WME spokesperson. “We appreciate the contributions of our former colleagues, and, out of respect for their privacy, we will not be commenting on the status of specific employees.

“While we are making these difficult decisions now to safeguard our business, we believe in the resilience of our team and our industry.”

According to the UK Live Music Group, which on Friday warned the UK live industry is on “life support” without government assistance, booking agencies employ around 4,000 people in the UK.

A recent survey by the Entertainment Agents’ Association showed that 73% of UK agency employees are currently furloughed, while 77% will need to be furloughed beyond 1 September.


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