In a world where one in every two people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, the Publicis Foundation is launching the first cross-industry coalition to erase the stigma of cancer in the workplace, supported by leading cancer charities and organizations including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), Macmillan Cancer Support, Working With Cancer and the Gustave Roussy Institute.
In April 2022, Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun was diagnosed and treated for cancer. After making his condition public, he received thousands of testimonies that exposed the fear those with cancer experienced, not only for their lives, but also for their jobs.
Those messages reflected an unsettling reality that Working with Cancer aims to address: 50% of cancer patients are afraid to tell their employer about their diagnosis, despite 92% feeling that support at work positively impacts their health.
At Davos on the 17th of January, in partnership with the World Economic Forum Working with Cancer will launch a pledge rallying some of the world’s most influential companies around the commitment to building the most open, supportive and recovery-forward work cultures for their employees (click here to see the pledge). It will invite every business, big and small, across the globe to join the movement at Workingwithcancerpledge.com. On this platform, each company will be able to outline their own commitments to cancer patients in their organizations.
Publicis’ specific pledge includes providing cancer patients with full job security for at least one year, and bringing the necessary career support not only for them, but also for caregivers in our organization. This pledge will be amplified by a campaign – ‘Work/Life’ – that illustrates what cancer patients go through when they hide their condition from their colleagues.
At launch, Working with Cancer already has the support of key global organizations including Abbvie, Adobe, AXA, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, BT, Carrefour, Citi, Disney, EE, Google, Haleon, HPE, Labcorp, L’Oréal, Lloyd’s, LVMH, Marriott, McDonald’s, Meta, Mondelez, Microsoft, MSD, Nestlé, Orange, Omnicom, Pepsico, Reckitt, Renault Group, Sanofi, Sodexo, Toyota, Unilever, Verizon, and Walmart.
For World Cancer Day on 4th February, Working with Cancer will launch a mass media wakeup call to encourage everyone to play their part in supporting their colleagues with cancer. To ensure this call will be heard by all, it will be backed by a far-reaching campaign and $100M in media that has been generously donated by partners around the world.
Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Groupe:
It is a tough reality, but whether directly or indirectly, every one of us will have to confront cancer in our lives and in our workplaces. Companies have a key role to play in that. Working with Cancer is an increasingly important initiative, on a front that many businesses are already invested in. By making their existing efforts more accessible and visible, together we can reduce the anxiety and stigma of cancer in the workplace and positively impact our people’s health. Through a truly collaborative approach, a light lift from everyone becomes deep and lasting impact for cancer patients at work.
Selwyn M. Vickers M.D., FACS, President and CEO of MSK:
MSK is proud to be a founding partner of Working With Cancer, and also to take this important pledge. As clinicians, scientists, and staff committed to caring for as well as treating people with cancer, we know the toll that cancer can have on patients and their families. Taking collective action to normalize the conversation around cancer in the workplace is imperative to help people feel supported as they experience their cancer journey.
About Publicis Groupe’s Pledge:
- We will secure the job, salary level and benefits of any Publicis Groupe employees diagnosed with cancer* for at least 1 year, so they can stay focused on their health treatment as the priority.
- All Publicis Groupe employees with cancer* will be individually accompanied when they return to work through personalized career support.
- All affected Publicis Groupe employees will have access to an internal community of volunteers (peers) who are properly trained to provide support, through the Marcel platform.
- All Publicis Groupe employees in a primary caregiver role for a patient in their immediate family will receive custom personal and professional support to navigate the flexibility and time arrangements needed maintain their energy at work and as a caregiver.
*Cancer: Publicis Groupe’s pledge applies to employees suffering from all forms of cancer and other chronic disease and serious illness requiring specific medical care as defined by the country in which they live.
 British Journal of Cancer– Trends in the lifetime risk of developing cancer in Great Britain (March 3rd 2015)
International Agency for Resarch on Cancer (IARC) – Est number of new cases, all cancers, sexes, ages (2020)