COVID-19 crisis hits one in three PR jobs – new PRWeek UK study

The coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on the jobs of 28 per cent of PR professionals, a new PRWeek study has found – but this compares favourably to peers in other marcomms disciplines, with the events industry hardest hit.

A new study shows the coronavirus crisis is having an impact on one in three PR jobs (Photo: Getty Images)
A new study shows the coronavirus crisis is having an impact on one in three PR jobs (Photo: Getty Images)

The 'industry snapshot' survey found the most common impact on PR professionals was a temporary pay cut, reported by 37 per cent of those affected, followed by reduced hours (27 per cent), risk of redundancy (21 per cent) and being placed on furlough (14.5 per cent).

The study, which polled 450 PRWeek registered readers prior to the Easter break, found most still had secure roles.

At the time the research was concluded on 8 April, 45 per cent of respondents said their employment had not yet been disrupted, but there was some uncertainty about job security.

Of those as yet unaffected, 13 per cent said they expect a temporary pay cut and nine per cent anticipated a reduction in their working hours. Only three per cent predicted their roles would become redundant.

Over the past couple of weeks several major communications groups have revealed plans to slash costs, with pay cuts, hiring freezes, placing staff on furlough and redundancies among their chosen methods.

These employers include M&C Saatchi, WPP, Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, while Freuds and Edelman have told their employees their jobs will be protected during the global crisis.

The impact of the coronavirus on PRWeek readers’ roles has been less dramatic than that on peers in the hard-hit meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of readers of PRWeek sister title C&IT said their jobs had been affected, with 43 per cent asked to take a pay cut and 27 per cent working reduced hours.

Interestingly, fewer of those affected in the MICE space are at risk of redundancy.

Meanwhile, a survey of Campaign readers produced similar results to PRWeek, with a variance that can be attributed to a higher proportion of freelance workers and business owners in comms than adland.

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