Nearly three-fifths of DMA firms have furloughed staff

dma_new2The DMA has laid bare the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the data-driven marketing industry by revealing nearly three-fifths (56%) of its members have furloughed their staff, and a further 8% plan to do so in the near future.

The trade body – which has over 1,000 member organisations – has just published the results of its second “Coronavirus – The Impact on Business” survey. It shows that the rush to join the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being fuelled by the fact that the majority (56.9%) of members have seen business fall by a half.

This, in turn, has led over a third (36%) to believe their company will not last longer than six months in the current conditions, and a further 20% are not sure how long they might last.

The industry’s army of freelancers are also suffering, despite calls for brands, agencies and production companies to support those who have been described as “the lifeblood” of the creative sector.

According to the DMA study, just under half (46%) of businesses report they have already or will definitely not retain freelance or short-term staff – a further 29% conceded this was also a likely or possible necessity in the coming months.

DMA chief executive Chris Combemale said: “The results from our latest barometer of businesses in our community highlights the continued impact on revenues that the pandemic is having.

“It’s clear that many businesses have welcomed the Government support in an attempt to retain their staff through furlough, however, we are continuing to call for an extension of the job retention scheme.

“Even once restrictions are lifted it could take months for revenues to return to normal and it is essential businesses can plan for a phased return to work, to avoid inevitable redundancies.”

Nearly three-quarters of businesses are looking to Government schemes for support (74% definitely/likely to apply or have done so for at least one). Looking at those businesses that have already or will definitely use these schemes, the Job Retention Scheme is most popular (64%), followed by deferring VAT payments (30%) and reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay (28%).

In response to the crisis, the Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM) and the DM Trust have set up the DM Trust Home Learning Fund, offering UK-based staff who have either been placed on furlough or made redundant access to fully funded training and professional qualifications.

The two organisations have pledged £200m to the initiative.

Combemale concluded: “Skills development is a great way for people to enhance their long-term personal development during these challenging times. We’re proud to be spearheading an initiative that will add tangible value to both the individuals in the data and marketing industry and the businesses that comprise it.”

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