- More than 65% of advertising professionals fear company layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from professional social network Fishbowl shared with Marketing Dive. This number is above the average 54% of professionals across industries that believe the outbreak and subsequent revenue losses will lead to layoffs at their company.
- Professionals in the San Francisco area (61.2%), New York (60.3%) and Atlanta (59.2%) reported the greatest fears of layoffs, while those in Columbus (34.5%), Pittsburgh (40.5%), and Toronto (44%) showed the lowest percentage fear.
- Meanwhile, the advertising industry is seeing the greatest share of employees whose companies are encouraging them to work from home and restricting travel (63.2%), above the average 52.2% across industries, per a separate Fishbowl report. The survey includes feedback from employees at agencies such as Edelman, TBWA, R/GA, FCB, Havas, Ogilvy and McCann.
The spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes the illness COVID-19, has quickly uprooted the way people around the world live and work. Consumer confidence has dipped, the stock market has declined and layoffs have already begun in the travel and restaurant sectors, which have so far borne the brunt of the situation. This uncertainty is sending ripples across the professional world as people worry that their job could be next.
Employees in the advertising industry are the most fearful of layoffs, even above finance professionals of whom only 43.8% reported concern over whether their jobs may be in danger. Many advertising agencies have travel and hospitality clients, and those budgets are likely to be affected as travel companies continue to reduce services and rethink their advertising strategy as people stay home.
Retailers have been some of the first to announce store closures over the past few weeks, though many are still earning revenue from online sales. Retail is a key driver of the advertising business, so the category's slowdown may trickle into the agency world that partially relies on the sector's marketing campaigns to stay afloat.
Interestingly, the Fishbowl research notes that the advertising business is ahead of the curve when it comes to working from home and canceling work travel. This data suggests that ad agencies may be more amenable than other professional industries to cultivating a virtual workplace and continuing to adjust or develop campaigns for their clients.