COVID-19 Member Impact Poll: 95% of Survey Respondents Say Coronavirus Poses a Large Threat to the U.S. Economy

PRSA Georgia recently conducted a survey to learn how COVID-19 is affecting the PR industry in Georgia. The survey included responses from 115 PRSA Georgia members who work in the following settings: corporate (37%), independent counselors (18%), higher education (15%), agency (12%), government (9%), and non-profits (9%).

PR professionals in Georgia are predicting a dismal outlook for the U.S. economy with more than 95% of survey respondents saying the pandemic poses a large or extremely large threat to the U.S. economy. Sixty-one percent of PR professionals said COVID-19 poses a large threat to their own organizations.

While 44% of PR professionals say COVID-19 poses little to no threat to their own personal health, they are concerned about the financial challenges that come with coronavirus. Nearly 50% of respondents said COVID-19 poses a large or extremely large threat to their own personal financial situation.

The COVID-19 Impact Survey also revealed the following key findings:

  • 75% of organizations have been negatively impacted by COVID-19;
  • 83% of organizations have reduced its budget and/or discretionary spending because of COVID 19;
  • 63% of organizations have made major changes to staffing including layoffs, furloughs, and salary reductions;
  • 43% of organizations are under a hiring freeze; and
  • 46% of members have personally experienced job loss, furlough, salary reduction, or reduced work due to COVID-19.

One of the most concerning findings of the survey is that only 7.7% of respondents will continue  summer internship programs as planned. Of the organizations who are continuing their internship programs, 3.3% of the internships will be virtual. Internship cancellations may have long-term impacts on students who will need internship experience to secure future employment.

Although Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to re-open many of its businesses, 78% of the PR professionals who responded to the survey continue to work remotely on a full- time basis.

The survey also asked members about their professional development plans for the next six months. Respondents overwhelming supported virtual programming over in-person programming through November. When asked which topics should be covered with virtual programming, respondents were most interested in the following topics:

  • digital communications;
  • measurement and ROI;
  • COVID-19 impact on PR; and
  • and internal communications.

About this survey: PRSA Georgia will send the COVID-19 impact survey to its 850 members via email at least once a month over the next 6 months. This feedback will give important insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on the PR industry in the State of Georgia. All feedback is confidential and will be shared at an aggregate level. Please participate in this important survey each month. If you have any suggested survey questions or want to provide feedback about the survey, please contact immediate past president Jasmine Hoffman, MBA, APR, at jasmine.hoffman@emory.edu.

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