Industry Insights

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Are COVID-19 Layoffs & Furloughs Hitting Marketing Research Teams?

April 22, 2020

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting hiring and staffing plans for research and insights teams? As part of our goal to share information about the developing trends we’re seeing in the job market right now, we asked researchers to share how their teams may have been impacted.Flash Survey fielded April 14-April 16, 2020The sample includes over 200 professionals, fairly evenly split between client-side and supplier-side researchers across the US. We asked them to tell us:

How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your organization’s marketing research hiring and staffing plans so far?
  1. We are still hiring!
  2. We are holding steady: no hiring or plans for layoffs/furloughs yet
  3. There are rumors and/or plans of upcoming layoffs/furloughs
  4. Furloughs have happened
  5. Sadly, we’ve gone through layoffs

PLEASE NOTE: In the few cases where respondents gave more than one answer, (some may have gone through furloughs already with rumors of upcoming layoffs, for example), for purposes of reporting we narrowed this down to the most drastic measure reported by each respondent.

Survey Results Show COVID-19 Impact on Marketing Research Hiring

Below, you’ll find a snapshot of our overall results. Among the sample, we found nearly half of all respondents reported that their teams are “holding steady” – neither hiring nor negative impacts so at the time that we fielded the survey. While 13% of research teams are moving ahead and continuing to hire, 28% reported their team had experienced either furloughs or layoffs due to the pandemic.

Although we didn’t include an option for temporary salary cuts or reduced hours in this survey, some mentioned their companies have taken those alternatives as a measure to stave off potential furloughs or layoffs.Examining the results for client-side vs. supplier-side researchers, we found that supplier-side firms seem to be feeling the impacts from COVID-19 on their hiring plans more acutely, with less hiring, and more reporting layoffs, likely due to a decrease in business with fewer new projects coming in given uncertainty in the marketplace.

While the sample was not necessarily big enough for granular analysis across a wide swath of industries, it’s worth pointing out that this crisis has impacted some industries particularly hard (airlines, travel, hospitality, restaurants, QSR, and retail, etc.), so some client-side teams, or supplier-side researchers supporting those sectors, are much more likely to be affected than others.

Resources for Marketing Research Professionals

These next few months are likely to continue to be a bit unpredictable. Whether you’ve been impacted by changes or want to be prepared for any potential disruption down the line, I wanted to pass along a few resources in case they’re helpful to you.

  1. 8 Key LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketing Researchers – What to include, how to best utilize different sections of your profile, and other best practices.
  2. The Comprehensive Research & Insights Resume Guide – This post includes everything from how to tailor your resume, highlight specific experience, showing impact, crafting bullets, and much more.
You can also check out our 2020 research & insights salary webinar below, where we shared highlights from our latest research, COVID-19 impacts on the hiring market, and other developing trends for 2021 and beyond.