Many companies have taken the decision to furlough a proportion of their workforce due to the coronavirus, in effect putting their employment on hold rather than triggering mass redundancies.

Some 43% of UK brand marketers have seen either ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ furloughing, or staff reductions, in the marketing team since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, almost as many marketers (42%) have experienced no furloughing at all.

The exclusive survey of 477 UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, found 32% of marketers have experienced ‘higher’ or ‘somewhat higher’ rates of furloughing in marketing compared to other departments.

However, 49% say they have seen the same level of furloughing in marketing as in other departments.

That data suggests that while marketing is no more likely to be hit by furloughs than other departments, when furloughing does happen a severe impact is being felt.

Some 70% of marketers say their ability to accomplish their current goals has been ‘significantly’ or ‘somewhat’ compromised by furloughs. Over half (56%) have also seen their organisation reallocate marketers to ‘high demand areas’ to cope with the crisis.

Close to half (49%) of larger UK companies (revenues over £50m) are reallocating marketers to areas now in high demand due to the Covid-19 crisis, compared to 40% of smaller UK businesses (with revenues below £50m).

However, the furloughing of marketers is far more likely to happen in smaller businesses. Over half (52%) of marketers working in smaller organisations say have seen either ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ furloughing, or staff reductions, in the marketing team since the coronavirus outbreak.

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By comparison, just 30% of marketers working in larger companies say their team has experienced either ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ furloughing, or staff reductions.

Some 37% of marketers in smaller organisations say there are ‘higher’ or ‘somewhat higher’ rates of furloughing in marketing compared to other departments. By comparison, only 23% of marketers in larger businesses report a difference between the rate of furloughing in marketing and other departments.

It makes sense, therefore, that the impact of furloughs is being most keenly felt by smaller businesses. Some 76% of marketers in smaller companies say their ability to accomplish their current goals has been ‘significantly’ or ‘somewhat’ compromised by furloughs, compared to 61% in larger businesses.

Similar experiences

Analysis of the more than 850 marketers at global brands, also conducted by Marketing Week and Econsultancy, finds that the reallocation of marketing staff is more common in B2C businesses (50%) than in B2B organisations (45%). That being said, when it comes to furloughing the experiences of B2C and B2B marketers appear to be very similar.

Over a third of marketers working in both B2B (37%) and B2C (39%) have seen either ‘very significant’ or ‘significant’ furloughing, or staff reductions, in the marketing team since the onset of Covid-19.

There is also similarity among B2B and B2C marketers when it comes to the level of furloughing in marketing, versus the rest of the business. Some 35% of B2B marketers say there are ‘higher’ or ‘somewhat higher’ rates of furloughing in marketing compared to other departments, while 33% of B2C marketers agree.

In addition, 71% of both B2B and B2C marketers say furloughing in their business has ‘significantly’ or ‘somewhat’ compromised their ability to achieve current goals.

With no date for the end of the UK nationwide lockdown as yet in sight, marketing teams must brace themselves for continued furloughing over the weeks to come.

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