54% of workers fear layoffs due to COVID-19

A Fishbowl poll of more than 17,000 professionals shows those in advertising are the most concerned with layoffs, and lawyers the least.

Amid a global pandemic, and seemingly in a matter of days, the world as we know it has been completely upended. Schools are closed, major league sports and large venues have suspended operations, many eateries are now "take-out only," and there's been a nearly mob mentality with a run on grocery and gun stores. 

And, during the rush for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, business is suffering, which leads to the inevitable question,"Do you believe the coronavirus will result in layoffs at your company?" The question was posed to more than 17,000 employees by the professional social network Fishbowl, where people discuss workplace issues. Fishbowl reports that in the past week, the number of conversations on the site and its app have tripled.

Respondents from companies including IBM, Deloitte, JP Morgan Chase, Edelman, Ogilvy and Accenture could answer either "yes" or "no" and the survey ran from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16, 2020.

SEE: Coronavirus having major effect on tech industry beyond supply chain delays (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Most and least concerned about layoffs

Overall, 54% of professionals polled believe COVID-19 will result in layoffs at their workplace. Those in advertising are the most fearful of that outcome, with 65% responding "yes," and lawyers were the least worried, with only 32% responding "yes." Despite the bear market, only 44% of finance professionals were afraid of layoffs.

The poll also broke down responses based on location.

The top three cities where layoffs were expected were

  • San Francisco Bay Area, 61.27%
  • New York, 60.34%
  • Atlanta, 59.22%

Cities with the least fear of layoffs were 

  • Columbus, 34.48%
  • Pittsburgh, 40.49%
  • Toronto, 43.91%

SEE: Coronavirus and its impact on the enterprise (TechRepublic Premium)

Fishbowl's head of growth, Kyle McCarthy, also noted some of the app's relevant conversation starters, which included someone who not only feared contracting COVID-19 because of  a compromised immune system, but also being laid off because of how the virus had economically impacted the company. Another user wrote that the partners at their company implied layoffs were inevitable, but hoped their 401(k) would vest before that happened. 

Also see 

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Image: Fishbowl