Marketers are bracing themselves for the possibility that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will result in industry-wide job losses, according to a survey released today by professional social network Fishbowl.

The Fishbowl survey, which polled thousands of professionals—including employees at Edelman and Ogilvy—found that nearly two-thirds of marketing industry professionals (65 percent) believe the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to layoffs at their agency.


The average concern level was markedly lower among professionals polled overall (54 percent), suggesting marketing experts remain far more worried about the future of their jobs than professionals working in other industries.

By comparison, only 44 percent of finance professionals—whose industry is currently facing a bear market—reported layoff concerns. Lawyers exhibited the least amount of layoff-related fears, at 32 percent.

When comparing responses by region, the San Francisco Bay area led with the highest percentage of employees fearing layoffs (61 percent), followed by New York (60 percent) and Atlanta (59 percent). Columbus, Pittsburgh and Toronto exhibited the lowest percentage of layoff fears, at 34 percent, 40 percent and 44 percent, respectively.

Already, the marketing industry is bracing for a big hit in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Digital market research company eMarketer in March estimated that COVID-19’s financial impact on 2020 ad spends currently stands at about $20.3 billion.

A separate Fishbowl survey published three days ago also found that nearly two-thirds of advertising professionals polled (63 percent) reported that their workplace has either restricted travel or encouraged them to work remotely in light of the pandemic, a far higher percentage than professionals overall (52 percent).

Fishbowl’s survey polled more than 17,000 professionals stationed across a variety of industries between March 13 and March 16 using the Fishbowl app.