Only 35% of PR employees are confident their employer will reinstate them post-furlough and 72% of PR people would like to continue to work from home, says latest survey

Essentially, PR employees fit into three groups at the moment: those who are (in the main) working from home; those who have been made redundant; and those who are still on furlough.

This survey, in partnership with the PR specialist recruiter Boldmove, aims to shine a light on how people within these three groups are feeling, what support they have received and what their future plans are.

Below are charts that look in detail at things from a PR employee’s perspective during the lockdown.

The survey respondents are grouped into three areas: furloughed respondents; those who have been working from home; and those that have been made redundant.

Boldmove’s Julia Fenwick has over 10 years’ PR recruitment experience and where appropriate she has added some insight to the stats.

FURLOUGHED RESPONDENTS

YOUR COMPANY IS IN A GOOD POSITION TO REINSTATE YOU POST LOCKDOWN?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: Only 35% of respondents agree that their company was in a good position to reinstate them post lockdown which was far lower than we anticipated. And this low level of confidence is a big concern for both PR employers and employees

HAVE YOU RECEIVED SUFFICIENT INFO ON THE FURLOUGH PROCESS AND HOW YOUR BUSINESS INTENDS TO RESPOND?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: It’s good to see that two-thirds of furloughed staff received enough information. It’s a concern that 35% have not, but this has been a tough time for employers and employees alike, so perhaps although regrettable, this is understandable..

WHAT SUPPORT AND INFORMATION HAVE YOU RECEIVED? HAS IT BEEN ENOUGH?

HAS YOUR COMPANY BEEN KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE WITH WHAT’S GOING ON WITHIN THE COMPANY AND WITH YOUR CLIENTS?

DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT RETURNING TO YOUR WORKPLACE?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: 60% of respondents either answering no or being unsure was pretty much as expected given the circumstances.

GIVEN THAT YOU HAVE BEEN FURLOUGHED AND SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN COVERING YOUR WORK; DO YOU THINK THAT THIS WILL BE AN ISSUE WHEN YOU RETURN TO WORK?

ARE YOU WORRIED THAT WHEN FURLOUGH STOPS, YOUR POSITION WILL BE MADE REDUNDANT?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: With 40% being worried and 15% being unsure, these are concerning figures on how employees view their company’s overall financial strength.

HAVE YOU BEEN UPSKILLING OR VOLUNTEERING DURING THIS PERIOD?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: It was positive to see a higher percentage of PR practitioners putting their skills to good use during their furloughed time.

REDUNDANT RESPONDENTS

WHAT SUPPORT AND INFORMATION HAVE YOU RECEIVED?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: We were astonished to find that 42.3% had received nothing on being made redundant

As only 30% received redundancy payment we have to assume that most of respondents whose positions have been made redundant had been in their roles for less than two years.

HAVE YOU RECEIVED ENOUGH INFORMATION FROM YOUR EMPLOYER?

ARE YOU CONTINUING TO LOOK FOR WORK IN YOUR CURRENT MARKET OR ARE YOU CONSIDERING OTHER INDUSTRIES?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: We thought that 42%, considering other industries, was a disappointing statistic for the PR industry.

HAVE YOU LOOKED AT OR BEEN INVOLVED WITH ANY VOLUNTEERING, RETRAINING OR UPSKILLING EVENTS?

WORKING FROM HOME RESPONDENTS

HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE EXPERIENCE OF WORKING FROM HOME?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: Overall the respondents found working from home a positive experience which was to some extent, as expected.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONTINUE WORKING FROM HOME?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: The overwhelming majority of respondents wanted to continue to work from home. A considerably higher number than we anticipated.

ARE YOU EXCITED TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT?

WHAT TOOLS HAVE YOU USED AT HOME THAT YOU INTEND TO CONTINUE OR ARE INTERESTED IN INTRODUCING INTO THE WORKPLACE?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: We thought that Zoom would be the clear favourite here, but were slightly taken aback to see that Teams was more utilised than any other tool. Microsoft is definitely going to be pleased with that…

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES HAVE YOU HAD WHILST WORKING AT HOME THAT MAY NOT EXIST IN THE OFFICE PLACE?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: There were a variety of responses here, but mostly around a better work/life balance from many different angles but primarily around having a healthier lifestyle.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS OR FEARS IN RETURNING TO WORK?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: The number here was higher than expected and we suspect this primarily relates to the apprehensions of commuting to an office rather than working in one.

HAVE YOU A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW YOUR ROLE MAY HAVE CHANGED OR WHAT ADDITIONAL DUTIES YOU MAY NEED TO TAKE ON WHEN YOU DO RETURN?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: Given the number of redundancies that have already been made in the PR sector and the numbers that continue to be made, the roles of some PR employees are shifting and becoming broader. Many employees were happy with this initially because they thought that this was a temporary measure to cover furloughed workers but for many, increasingly this has become the new normal.

DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT RETURNING TO YOUR WORKPLACE?

ASIDE FROM HEALTH AND SOCIAL DISTANCING HAS YOUR BUSINESS PROVIDED ANY SUPPORT OR GUIDANCE TOWARDS HOW THEY ARE PLANNING TO ADAPT OR RESTRUCTURE THEIR WORK CULTURE?

GENERAL RESPONSES

CLEARLY MANY INDUSTRIES HAVE AND CONTINUE TO BE AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC. DO YOU FEEL YOUR INDUSTRY IS STABLE RIGHT NOW?

Commentary from Julia Fenwick: This was the biggest bombshell answer for us from this survey… A staggering 77.8% felt that the PR Industry isn’t stable right now.

CAN YOU SHARE IN MORE DETAIL WHAT VOLUNTEERING, RESKILLING OR EVENTS YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN DURING THIS PERIOD?

Methodology: This survey was of 212 PR and communications professionals between 15th June and 17th July 2020.


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