ICM Partners is cutting about 40 support staff positions in a downsizing effort that coincides with the company’s decision to raise the hourly wage for all assistants to $20.
ICM Partners disclosed the changes at a company-wide meeting held Friday. Agency leaders also pledged that 50% of its new hires will be what it described as “diverse candidates.” ICM’s agent training program will be expanded to include more entry-level staffers with a focus on promoting candidates from marginalized backgrounds to the rank of agent.
The decision to trim the ranks of assistants and other support staffers comes as the company prepares to gradually reopen its Century City offices to employees. In looking at how to spread staffers out to comply with social distancing recommendations, agency leaders realized that given in the era of smartphones and video conference calls, agents no longer need as many assistants and support staffers as they once did.
Sources said agency leaders stressed that the decision to raise the assistant wage to $20 an hour will more than offset the savings from the staff cuts. In recent years, most ICM assistants were making around $15 an hour. With the staff cuts, ICM will have about 200 assistants.
ICM’s structural decision comes at a time when all major players in Hollywood are grappling with the economic downturn spurred by the coronavirus outbreak. The industry’s largest talent agencies have been in the eye of a storm as the battle with the Writers Guild of America over the right to represent writers has dragged on for more than a year.
The cultural reckoning over racial inequality that has erupted during the past month is also putting agencies under the microscope. Agents are key gatekeepers for creative talent, which means the track record of agencies with clients from marginalized communities and their own hiring practices are under more scrutiny than ever.
ICM Partners noted that the agency has achieved the goals of its pledge from 2017 to promote women amid the #MeToo awakening of “50-50 by 2020.” At present, per ICM, women serve as heads of at least half of the agency’s departments while at least half of the agents promoted to partner status since late 2017 have been female.