DMA survey reveals half of businesses have furloughed staff

The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) reveal the results of its second ‘Coronavirus – The Impact on Business’ survey, highlighting the key concerns, challenges and needs of businesses during this difficult time. The findings show that 56% of businesses have applied to the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme already, with a further 8% saying they definitely will apply over the coming months.

Those surveyed continue to report their organisations’ as running at just over half ‘Business as usual’ (56.9%), while a third of businesses (36%) believe they won’t last longer than six months in the current conditions – with a further 20% not sure how long they might last.

The impact on the UK’s freelancers is clear too as 46% of businesses report they have already or will definitely not retain freelance or short-term staff – a further 29% conceded this was a likely or possible necessity in the coming months too.

“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,” says Chris Combemale, CEO of the DMA, “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 utilise these schemes, the Job Retention Scheme is most popular (64%), followed by deferring VAT payments (30%) and reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay (28%).

Learning opportunity

Most people surveyed in April continue to agree they have the technology they need to easily (92%) and productively (89%) work from home. Staff feel organisations are putting their health and wellbeing first during the pandemic (91% agree), which may well be the reason that confidence in their senior leadership team increased from 86%, in March, to 92% in April.

However, just half of businesses (50%) are offering skills development and training opportunities during the lockdown to staff – whether furloughed or not. To help those furloughed or that have been made redundant as a result of Coronavirus, the DMA and DM Trust announced the release of new funding last week. The ‘DM Trust Home Learning Fund’ will offer UK-based professionals on furlough or made redundant access to fully funded training and professional qualifications.

Combemale continues: “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.”

Further information about the ‘DM Trust Home Learning Fund’ and details on how to apply can be found here: https://www.theidm.com/blog/dm-trust-home-learning-fund

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