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Digiday Research: Over a third of agency employees report pay cuts, 25% report layoffs

The twin crises of the coronavirus and the ensuing economic fallout have left most companies struggling to keep costs down as revenue dries up — or at least slows down. We asked companies across media, marketing and retail about the crises effects on employees in a new Digiday research survey. Over the next month, we’ll release more data about how the pandemic and the recession have affected employee productivity, work-life balances and mental health.

At ad agencies, 32% of surveyed respondents said they had taken a pay cut, while 35% said others had done so. About 26% — a quarter — said people at their companies had been furloughed, while over a third said others at their companies had been laid off.

In April, Publicis Groupe released its first-quarter earnings early, reporting and organic revenue decline of 2.9%. All four major holding companies announced plans for layoffs and furloughs to deal with the downturn. 

Inside media companies, the picture is slightly improved. About 29% of survey respondents said they had taken a pay cut, while 31% said others had. A quarter said their companies had furloughs and the same percentage said others at the company had been laid off. For publishers, the issues of low ad revenue and cancelations of live events have been extremely problematic. 

At brands and retailers, 27% of our survey respondents said that they had taken a pay cut, and 35% said others had.

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