Those are findings of a survey of 250 people working across different creative sectors, carried out this month by Creative Access – the social enterprise that promotes career development and support among under-represented groups. It was an update of an earlier survey from May 2020, a couple of months after the start of lockdown.
The new survey found 44 per cent of PR creatives now describe themselves as financially unstable versus 33 per cent who said the same in May 2020.
Asked whether COVID-19 had negatively affected different aspects of their life, in the new survey 45 per cent cited their mental health – 69 per cent chose this answer in May 2020. Among respondents to the more recent survey who have a disability, 64 per cent said the coronavirus had negatively affected their mental health.
While 35 per cent last May said the pandemic had a negative impact on their job security, in December this year it has dropped to 20 per cent.
The research suggests PR creatives are more hopeful for the future than their counterparts in the creative industries. Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of creatives in PR felt quite or very optimistic about their careers going into 2022 – compared to 63 per cent across the creative industries as a whole.
The research found the top priorities for creatives in PR going into 2022 are:
- Improving their mental health – 54 per cent (compared to 61 per cent across the creative industries overall).
- Getting a permanent job – 39 per cent.
- Maintaining flexible working – 28 per cent.
- Getting a pay rise or promotion – 23 per cent.
- Finding a paid internship – 14 per cent.
- Leaving their current job for a new opportunity – 13 per cent.
Among PR creatives overall, the new survey found:
- 70 per cent say their primary source of income has changed between May 2020 and December 2021 as a result of the pandemic.
- 42 per cent said it has had a negative impact on their spending habits and ability to save money.
- 20 per cent said it has had a negative impact on their job security – rising to 27 per cent for those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.
- Eight per cent have had to relocate due to COVID-19 to find work – 48 per cent relocated to London/south-east England, showing how important it is for employers to support people with the high cost of housing in the capital.
More positively, 28 per cent said their mental health had improved due to more flexibility and working from home. Almost one in four (23 per cent) said the pandemic had a positive impact in giving them more time for hobbies and interests outside work. And 31 per cent felt there had been a positive impact on their creativity.
The survey also looked at the period of the 'great resignation'.
Since the end of the most recent lockdown, 45 per cent of respondents have applied for a new role; 41 per cent have started looking for a new role; and 51 per cent have started a new role. Six per cent of creatives have received a pay rise and another seven per cent a promotion in their current positions.
A Creative Access survey published in October found 77 per cent of people seeking a job in PR have not applied due to financial obstacles.