If you leave a job, can you really not join another agency within that holding company for the next 12 months? E.g. if I’m at ogilvy and leave. Can I really not join any WPP agency for the next 12 months or can this be worked around?

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DO NOT ASK HR. It’s a blanket statement in every holding company’s severance contract and there’s a silent “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. You don’t ask HR about it and HR pretends it isn’t there. If it was ever enforced there would be massive class-action lawsuits against holding companies since 5 of them practically own every agency in the world. I went straight from a lay-off to working freelance at 4 other agencies within the same network. You’re fine. If you bring it up w/ HR than HR will legally be forced to respond. Do not bring it up.

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Check with your holding company. At IPG, a sister agency can’t poach people, but you can go to another agency...kind of a fine line.

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Yep, this is the case with IPG

Yes I believe so, heard this about IPG as well. Ask HR for details.

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likesmarthelpful

I would imagine HR and hiring managers can get around this if they want to. The intent is to prohibit poaching, so if it's evident that didn't occur...

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I went from one IPG agency to another. It may be a policy but IPG didn’t enforce it

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I went wpp to wpp once 🤷🏻‍♀️

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I haven’t heard this before... I would check your contract to see if it has specific language barring this. Personally I’ve left an agency to move to a different agency within the holding company (Omnicom) and all was fine. If there’s a specific position you’re looking at. It may differ if it’s within your smaller Ogilvy network and you want to move to a different Ogilvy agency, though.

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In my case, I’m not leaving to go somewhere else. More like was let go and looking but wondering if this would stop me from trying to get a gig at an agency within the same holding company.

I worked at Ogilvy and tried to apply to a job at Taxi (also WPP) and I got an email from the hiring manager saying they couldn’t consider my application due to non-compete within WPP. Specific rules may vary holding company to holding company though

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Never heard of it. At least doesn’t happen at Havas. I’ve transferred between Havas agencies and also left to be a client and come back and all good. The only policy they have is to respect each other agency’s decision. So even if you apply to another agency within the group, the CEO will ask the other if he’s ok with you transferring. If they’re fine with you growing that way, they’ll let you go. If they consider you too valuable to let you leave, they’ll ask for the other not to take you and then they’ll give you a career plan to ensure you know you have a future in the company. I’ve had it both ways. First they retained me but didn’t tell me the other agency wanted me, however they tried to give me a new position to grow. Second time they told me the other agency had requested me and gave me the choice to go or stay. :)

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As people above said. Any rules are about poaching and to try to prevent salary inflation by one agency out-paying another for same role or person. At WPP you definitely can move around. But you need to do it in the right way. And by not burning bridges or else road blocks will be thrown up. The HR people are trying, and are asked, to play nice w/each other and all talk. They are careful because the shoe could be on other foot next time.

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WPP has rules available in the handbook (you can Google it) - essentially you would have to apply for the job or reach out to the other agency, they can’t poach you. Then after the first interview the new agency HR will let your current agency know you’re interviewing. Finally, you’re capped at receiving a max 10% pay raise when you move. It’s a lot of politics...and if you weren’t to get the job ultimately at the new place, a bit awkward.

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I’ve never heard of this. What is true at Publicis for example is that you can’t go back to any agency within 12 months and get a salary increase. That policy was made to prevent people from leaving and coming back a few months later just for a raise. I left Publicis and came back two months later cause I hated the other job. So I had to come back at the same salary.

I’d imagine the idea is to prohibit the “cool” agency of a holding company from poaching top talent from other agencies on the roster. But you reach out to an agency, and they reply to you, it’s fine. I’ve had recruiter friends say things to me like, “We have a role perfect for Kate the ACD, but tell her she has to write to me first. Don’t want to be seen as poaching.” Maybe that’s not universal, but it seems to hint at some of the loopholes.

I left Ogilvy for a Pub Groupe agency and still regularly freelance(d) at WPP agencies, less than a year out. Nobody has ever said anything.

I transferred from one WPP firm to another WPP firm 🤷🏻‍♀️

Every holding company is different. If you leave the job without another one lined up, I believe you should be fine but you should still check your contract. I know when I was at a WPP shop, if I started contacting other shops within the network while still employed, my job could be immediately terminated, but that was if I was currently working there during the process. Publicis Groupe is very different on that matter, they have an office transfer system, but I informed my manager I was on the hunt for an office transfer and he he had no problem with me looking into finding a job within the groupe without the transfer process, which I ultimately did.

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