Covid-19 has come with a host of associated effects. As the world begins to emerge slowly from lockdowns, it is having to confront the effects that are economic. Creativepool has released the final piece of its Coronavirus Survey Report, which was carried out in April to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the creative industries.
“As the platform connecting professionals and organisations in the creative industries, Creativepool is in a unique position to understand how the creative sector is coping with the coronavirus lockdown while in self-isolation,” the organisation stated. The second and last part of the report reveals the repercussions of the outbreak on the job market, with a distinctive focus on the creative industries.
The pandemic has already caused job losses
The survey has revealed that 50% of currently unemployed creatives across all the creative industries have lost their job due to coronavirus. With 70% of creatives being at least moderately worried about their current job, this is set to put further strain on the creative industries and the overall job market, which have already been struggling due to a shortage of clients and projects.
The first part of the Creativepool Coronavirus Report has revealed that 3 in 4 small businesses are likely to close by September if the lockdown continues for too long.
Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed creatives have stated they will not be able to survive more than 3 months without work, even considering all their emergency savings. Of those, 27.4% has said they will likely survive less than 1 month.
Even agency leaders haven’t painted much of a reassuring picture. Whether they belonged to small or larger organisations, 61.9% said their business is likely to cease operations within 6 months.
With small businesses making up over half (55.8%) of the respondents, it is safe to assume that most of the creative industries are in dire financial straits right now. Most businesses have been forced to reduce their productivity because of the lockdown. Production houses have been hit the hardest, with projects put on hold and/or cancelled, but the overall creative industry is experiencing a shortage of clients and projects, meaning that the extent of the issue may be more widespread than anticipated.
Governments around the world have responded quickly to such urgent needs, offering help and funds to those struggling financially during the lockdown. However, some realities have been overlooked, and perhaps in an attempt to reach a broader of a solution as possible, some governments have failed to consider some more specific realities that are now struggling, such as limited company owners and freelancers with an unstable source of income.
As a result, most creatives are sceptical that financial help from the government will be enough to keep the economy afloat. And while 52% are uncertain, only 1 in 4 believes government measures will actually help. Whether said measures are appreciated or not, however, they are certainly useful to help companies hang in there while they wait out the pandemic, and over 50% will resort to government help to support its employees and retain its staff.
The survey has also revealed that 8 in 10 creative organisations are not currently hiring for new talent. Professionals who are currently unemployed will have to resort to savings or government help until the end of the lockdown, though this may not be enough to keep the global economy afloat – as 90.8% of the surveyed creatives have stated that they will not be able to live for more than 6 months without or with less work.
This may be a direct result of the shortage of clients and new projects caused by the outbreak. 56.8% of respondents stated that they are experiencing “considerably fewer clients” due to the pandemic, while almost 65% have said that their budget plans have been “considerably affected”.
While the industry waits out the pandemic, businesses have been adapting in different ways to avoid losing all their staff or sources of income. In mid-April, only 12.9% of organisations had furloughed some or most of their staff, and the vast majority was working from home. It is likely that those numbers have changed drastically and more businesses have chosen to furlough their employees in the past few weeks.
1 in 10 organisations had already ceased operations in April, most of these likely to be production companies, with lockdown giving them with little to no chances of seeing their projects to completion.
Over 60% of the surveyed creatives are finding new ways to reinvent their craft. Whether it is by upping their skills, following online courses or finding opportunities where they’ve never looked before, most are stepping out of their comfort zone, picking up their creative strength and forging ahead.
This is especially true of freelancers, who have been possibly hit the hardest by the lockdown measures and the subsequent lack of clients.
With both creatives and creative organisations struggling to get back on their feet, and with lockdown measures set to be extended in some countries (UK included), it is hard to predict when the creative industry is going to bounce back.
The Creativepool Coronavirus Survey
Creativepool carried out the survey in April 2020, receiving over 1,200 responses from all sectors of the creative industries. Respondents included agency and brand leaders, marketers, freelancers and full-time creatives, in the UK and beyond.
The first half of the report has revealed that 90% of the industry is working from home, that there is a general scepticism toward government help and whether it may be enough to keep the global economy afloat. It has also unveiled that freelancers have been hit the hardest, with half of them stating they will not be able to survive for more than 3 months with fewer clients.
Michael Tomes, founder of Creativepool, commented, “This is an unprecedented and challenging time for the creative industries, and certainly for creatives all around the world. The coronavirus outbreak has already put a significant strain on the job market – too many realities have been overlooked, causing freelancers to struggle and small businesses to cling onto the few clients that have chosen to stay. We trust that the Creativepool Coronavirus Survey Report will provide answers and hope to all creatives around the world, showing how we are all willing to take proactive steps for the good health of the creative industry.”