Each day hundreds of thousands of employees use Fishbowl, a professional social network, to discuss workplace issues. In these conversations, it is clear the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting every aspect of working life: moving entire companies to remote working, challenging parents to work while caring for their children, shuttering local businesses, and causing thousands lay-offs in a matter of days.
Amongst the most urgent topics addressed in these conversations is the economic impact caused by coronavirus, and the deep concerns that users are sharing about potential layoffs in professional services. One specific source of layoff anxiety is that clients are canceling work at an alarming rate.
In Fishbowl’s industry communities including consulting, law, advertising, accounting, and finance, layoffs are directly tied to a drop in client work. For that reason, we surveyed our users with the following question to better understand their sentiment as a whole:
“Has the coronavirus pandemic caused clients to pause or cancel work?”
Employees could answer with A.) Yes, or B.) No. The survey ran March 20 through March 24, 2020 and was answered by 27,067 verified professionals on the Fishbowl app from companies such as IBM, Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Edelman, Ogilvy, and Accenture.
Here’s what we found:
- Overall, 59.9% of professionals say that the coronavirus pandemic has caused clients to pause or cancel work.
- The advertising industry had the highest percentage saying clients paused or canceled work, with 81.98% answering with ‘Yes.’ Conversely, accountants had the lowest percentage, with only 41.92% answering with ‘Yes.’
- The finance industry had the second-highest percentage of employees saying that clients paused or canceled work, with 70.41%.
- When breaking down the responses from financial services professionals, 81.46% of financial advisors, 70.59% of hedge fund employees, and 70.31% of investment bankers responded that clients are pausing or canceling work. Their feedback reflects institutional and private clients’ fears about the market’s performance and dramatic changes to their investments in response- from delayed IPO’s to movements in 401k’s.
- More than half of users in law (57%) and consulting (54%) answered that clients had paused or cancelled work.