30 Nov 2020

Autumn 2020 Pulse Survey results

A challenging marketplace but increased positivity

ITI’s latest Pulse Survey has revealed increased positivity about the business environment among members despite no improvement in market conditions, and a significant amount of adaptation to deal with the global impact of COVID-19 on business.

39% of respondents said they felt positive about their work and prospects in the current environment (versus 28% in the spring).

58% said they had gained new business over the last 12 months (versus 62% in the spring). 54% said work from existing clients had decreased (versus 44%).

The majority of members (61%) said they had managed to maintain their rates at a similar level, with 25% seeing a reduction and 13% an improvement.

The most commonly referenced impacts of the pandemic were less work coming through (55%); clients wanting to reduce rates (24%); and problems arising from childcare or looking after other members of the family (12%). 23% of respondents said there had been no impact on their work.

The most common adaptations cited by members to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on their working lives were applying for COVID-related grants (34% of respondents); accepting reduced hours for now and organising their time differently (30%); seeking more agency clients (27%); diversifying in the type of work they would do (24%); and seeking more direct clients (22%).

The interpreter group faced particular challenges: 75% of dedicated interpreters said they had experienced cancellation of face-to-face assignments, and 58% said they had experienced an increase in online assignments (reducing to 66% and 52% respectively for those doing both translation and interpreting). 46% had reorganised their office/purchased technology to facilitate remote interpreting (falling to 29% for those working in both disciplines).

71% of individuals who worked solely in interpreting said they had seen less work coming through (versus 55% for the whole sample). They also showed higher figures for decreased work from existing clients (64%) and clients wanting to reduce rates (50%).

30% of all respondents said they had been doing new work that had arisen as a direct result of the pandemic. Most commonly cited categories of work were: organisational procedures and policies, including health and safety documents; stakeholder communications about how organisations had been dealing with and performing in relation to the situation, as well as keeping employees up-to-date and engaged; a variety of healthcare-related work, including clinical trials, COVID testing, medical reports, medical device literature, NHS material; and promotional activities for products and services.

Catherine Park, Pulse Survey project manager, commented: “It is good to see some increased positivity among members since the spring, despite the continuation of challenging market conditions. Our core measures have generally not shown improvement since the last survey. This result may relate to respondents having now formulated their strategy for business during the pandemic and some new types of work emerging over this period, along with the government’s COVID support grant scheme. "

Further information and charts are available here.

*862 respondents took part in this survey.