As you may know, Burtch Works has teamed up with the IIA (International Institute for Analytics) to survey quantitative professionals about the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on analytics teams across the US.
This post covers the fourth wave of results, with approximately 100 updated responses from April 27 through May 1, 2020. We will release updates to this information every few weeks. Note that we have now moved to less frequent updates in order to better accommodate what seems sure to be an extended crisis period. For the full report, a PDF report version can also be downloaded for free here, which includes more information about the sample and survey methodology.
Impact to Analytics Workload
There is less panic over time, with continued drops in organizations being asked to abandon all other projects to focus only on the crisis. By the last week of April, only 3.1% of companies were in a panic state. At the same time, there was another drop in the percentage of organizations not doing any crisis-focused analytics as analytics organizations in a purely business as usual mode dropped to 21.4%.
Impact to Analytics Staffing & Hiring
As the crisis continues, staffing impacts have risen notably. The percentage of those with either some or substantial cuts rose from 20.7% in the first survey to 41.8% this round. This represents over a doubling of staffing impacts in barely one month! However, this does seem in line with the general economic news in recent times. This far large companies have been less impacted than small companies. Note: the uptick in the “no impact” rate below is a result of different members of the tracking cohort responding across the surveys.
New this round, we asked those who had seen staffing impacts to provide more details on the action(s) taken. Salary cuts are by far the most prevalent action with 74% of impacted organizations experiencing salary cuts. Layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, and reduced hours were all in the 25% – 30% range. The good news in this data is that layoffs and furloughs do not appear to be the action of choice for analytics and data science organizations. While salary cuts are painful, they are preferable to the alternatives.
Use of Analytics to Address the Crisis
Fortunately, the prevalence of executives not making use of analytics for decisions has stabilized. This round, 48.0% of respondents felt that at least some executives were not relying on analytics as they should. Some of this could be due to the pure volume of decisions that have to be made in a tight timeframe, which doesn’t allow time for the creation and usage of proper analytics.
As anticipated, the impact of the crisis on analytics and data science organizations is continuing to evolve. By the end of April, the number of companies with some form of staffing impacts has more than doubled to over 40%. The good news is that by far the most prevalent action is some form of salary cuts, with nearly 75% of impacted analytics and data science organizations experiencing salary cuts. Furloughs (24%) and layoffs (30%) are less common, which is encouraging.
Another high point is that while nearly 80% of organizations have been pulled into crisis-oriented analytics, there are still very few in a pure panic mode where everything is focused on the crisis and that number is approaching zero.
Since the situation is still developing, expect another update in a few weeks.