Presenters: Chris Jackson, Ipsos; Kathy Sheehan, Cassandra (ENGINE); Laura Craig, Delvinia; Moderated by Melanie Courtright, Insights Association
Transcript Courtesy of Focus Forward & FF Transcription
MELANIE COURTRIGHT: Thank you so much for joining us today. A quick disclaimer that we're going to be sharing a lot of data with you today, a lot of information. This information is not intended to substitute for any legal, financial, or advice that you may need. If you need advice from someone specific to your business and you need to be connected with an attorney, accountant, or financial advisor, please let us know. We'll do our best to connect you with someone. Today's Town Hall, Virtual Town Hall will definitely be recorded, and both the recording and the transcription, thank you very much to Focus Forward for transcribing, that will be available on our website and we'll also send it to you via a follow-up email. We would love to hear from you today. You can use the chat box for general chat. If you have a question, it will be very helpful to us if you put that question into the Q&A section. We'll be watching that section very closely, both throughout the session and then at the end, so please do use those. And we will leave time at the end for open discussion, answering any questions you may have. We have, today's session is focused on continuing through COVID. It's a bit of a research round-up and we're going to be presenting you with some follow-ups to how consumers are feeling, a deep dive into Millennials and Gen Zs, some information on how the industry is doing, and then a little bit about the COVID survey that we've been running, our next wave. The early results are in. And a little bit of a teaser on the mental well-being study that many of you participated in. So a great session. Let me start by introducing our speakers. First we have Chris Jackson. He's Senior Vice President at Ipsos and responsible for the public polling practice in the US. We also have with us Kathy Sheehan, Senior Vice President at Cassandra and Engine. She leads the Cassandra business unit within Engine. And our third speaker today is Laura Craig, Vice President at Delvinia. She is VP of Client Success at Delvinia. And so when those three are finished, I'll also be speaking today, doing the COVID and the Chris work - sorry, the VOVID and the mental well-being work. So off to you, Chris Jackson. Thank you very much for being with us today. Very much looking forward to seeing how the consumers are dealing with our world.
CHRIS JACKSON: Thank you. Great to be with everyone. I hope everyone is well, keeping sane as best we can in these crazy times. I was going to provide a little bit of an overview of the current state of the country, of public opinion. Ipsos is conducting a pretty intensive set of public opinion research. We are in the field every week collecting new data and tracking how the public is handling the progression of the COVID pandemic, the election which is starting to heat up a little bit, the economy which is really sort of moving in fits and starts, and the Black Lives Matter movement which sort of had really re-emerged onto the scene a little over a month ago.
I'd like to start, though, if you could go to the next slide, I'd like to start with just a snapshot of what we're seeing in the economy. The economic shock of the COVID outbreak can't really be understated. We saw the highest levels of unemployment since the Great Depression. Those have since then started to level off a little bit but we still see unemployment rates well above the worst of what we saw during the Great Recession, for instance. However, consumer confidence has not fallen- while it has fallen some, it has not fallen nearly as much as we saw during the Great Recession, which suggests to us that there is still a certain reservoir of optimism, of economic optimism out in the public. And what we're actually seeing when we dig into the data a little bit deeper is there is a very clear difference between about half of the population that believes this is a very temporary phenomenon and that as soon as COVID has passed, the economy is going to just snap back into sort of the place it was.
And then another half of the country who believes that this economic damage is going to be much more long-term and that this is not something that's going to immediately bounce back. The people in the first group, their confidence level's essentially in line with where it was before the pandemic started. The people in the second group, their confidence level is actually well below the worst of what we saw in 2009. The average between the two of them is this point that we're seeing now of consumer confidence in the low 40s, about 50, but I think it remains open, sort of what this looks like moving forward. Economists suggest that that second group, the more pessimistic group, are the ones that are probably a little bit closer to what the reality of the recovery from this. And particularly with the second wave, or the continuation of the first wave we're seeing. But we are not really totally seeing the public yet fully embracing the dire economic conditions. There is a lot of optimism still out there.
As part of what we're seeing with the pandemic, though, is- and this is, I think, reflected in sort of that two Americas I was just talking about- is the experience of the pandemic have not been uniformly experienced across the country. People of color are much more likely to have experienced the worst of what's going on. For instance, Black Americans were much more likely to have been furloughed or laid off compared to White Americans or even Hispanic Americans, and they've been slower to return to work as the economy sort of started getting back a little bit of traction in June. We don't yet really know what's happened sort of with this population in July, since we've seen all the spikes in COVID. But it's very much an unequal sort of experience of the pandemic, particularly people who sort of work in the service sector, which again, is sort of disproportionately minorities and women, have really had the worst of the economic impacts.
And this is the data point I was speaking to a moment ago of Americans being very much split on if the economy would bounce back if businesses were allowed to sort of reopen fully. We see virtually half, 50/50. But again, that sort of hides the reality that people don't necessarily- different groups don't necessarily agree on this question. Republicans are much more optimistic about the shape of the economy than Democrats are. White Americans are much more optimistic about the shape of the economy than people of color. So there is this sort of, again, tension and this sort of two Americas that we're seeing, of one group that sort of is feeling a lot of pain, that is very concerned, that is very sort of pessimistic, and another that is honestly feeling pain as well but are much more likely to sort of diminish the importance of it and to think that things are fine fundamentally moving forward.
And I think this slide actually illustrates a little bit of what's happening between those two Americas. This is data that Ipsos has been collecting using cell phone metadata. You've probably seen stuff similar to this in newspapers across the country. But essentially what we've been doing is, we've been working with some companies to look at the number of cell phones that essentially get close to other phones over a certain period of time, and use that as a proxy for social distancing. And you can see, in April, the chart in the top left, the large majority of Americans were sort of practicing social distancing in April. There was a lot of space between sort of people. There wasn't a lot of necessarily movement that was happening. But over the weeks since then, there's been a real uptick in movement, and consequently, social distancing has really been declining a lot. It's particularly been declining in places sort of through the west and deep south where people have- and we see this in our survey research as well- people have the least level of concern and are the least likely to be taking a lot of protective measures with the Coronavirus pandemic. And then we have a little bit of a zoom in at the bottom here of the June 8th and the June 29th social distancing behavior across the south. And you can see, for instance, in Florida, there were pretty large swaths of Florida that were only getting a C grade in June 8th on social distancing, so people were really out and about a lot more. However, since- towards the end of June, we started to see some social distancing reemerging in Florida as their cases started to spike, but it's still not very widespread. And if you understand the political geography of Florida, we also see that the social distancing very much is mirroring sort of the political designs. The Panhandle of Florida, which is sort of the northern and western parts of the State, much more Republican. Southern Florida, which is Miami and the area around that, tend to be more Democratic. Those southern areas are the ones that are practicing social distancing. The Republican areas are the ones not. They're very much following the cues of the White House and the Republican administration in terms of what they're doing. But we're very much seeing these behaviors following these political cues, and those in turn are starting to drive what we're seeing in the pandemic itself, which then in turn is feeding into sort of the economic situation. This is an illustration of those partisan differences we're seeing in behaviors.
This is mask use by partisanship. And we can see Democrats have been relatively quick to adopt to wearing masks. This is from our Axios-Ipsos tracking data. There is a really steep increase over the sort of early period of the pandemic of Democrats wearing masks all the time. Republicans, however, have been much slower to adapt. And this is just among Democrats and Republicans who report that they visited friends or family in the last week, so it's a sub-sample of those two populations. But we can see, only about one in five Republicans say that they wear a mask all the time, and that they've visited friends and family, which suggests that they're not necessarily taking those protective steps, versus what Democrats who are more likely say they're doing so. And then finally, looking forward to the election.
It's interesting that the election had really been, through April and May, about the pandemic and about the economy. But over the last month, a new issue has really sort of emerged in sort of the public consciousness, this issue of restoring trust in American government. This was not something people were really focused on in any major way, shape, or form in February or March. But as the pandemic has raged, as we've essentially seen the government response to it not work terribly effectively, we've seen increasing numbers of Americans looking at this as the main issue driving their vote. And that's a problematic sign for the President, because former Vice President Biden has seen a stronger, on this particular measure when presented in sort of a head-to-head, who do you think's better on that- 40 to 29 in our latest Reuters-Ipsos tracking data. And that suggests that the shape of the election is actually changing a little bit from one that was focused more on economic recovery to one that is now really more focusing on effectively and appropriately managing the pandemic and managing sort of the things around it, and is becoming really more of a meta topic sort of that is encompassing a functioning government. And again, that's not necessarily the strongest terrain for the President in his reelection.
MELANIE: Next up we have Kathy Sheehan with Cassandra Engine. Kathy?
KATHY SHEEHAN: Thanks, Melanie and thanks, Chris. So I'm going to share some of our insights. Just like Chris, we at Cassandra have been going into the field every week since really the beginning of March, trying to understand how the pandemic is really impacting Gen Zs and Millennials, with an eye towards what this is going to mean for culture moving forward. So we really do see this as a defining moment. Not only is this bringing together economic and social and health and political issues altogether in kind of a perfect storm, but when we look at the generations, we really see that this is actually kind of bookending what we have called Gen Z. Because you have young people today who are five or six years old today that are going to have a memory of their kindergarten graduation or their kindergarten year being sent home from school, and how disruptive that will be. So we really think that this is something that isn't some fuzziness about how we define the generations when they start and when they end, but we really see this as a defining moment for the bookends of Gen Z and a defining moment for Millennials and Gen Zs in terms of how disruptive it is to them today.
I want to first talk about the economy. And for sure, we are seeing that Millennials and Gen Zs are feeling the most- everybody's feeling concerns about the economy and the impact of the pandemic on the economy- but it is for sure more pronounced among Millennials and Gen Zs. And I want to do a double-click on the Millennial metrics that we've been capturing because I think they are very indicative of kind of the long-term impact on the economy. So one of the things that we are seeing, if we go to the next slide, is that Millennials overall are having much more dramatic reactions to what's happening in the economy. So I'm going to share with you a few slides that really kind of underscore this.
So in terms of taking action related to the economy since March, whether you've taken any action or you've looked to increase your savings or cut down on nonessentials, and we have about 12 or 15 other metrics, we see that Millennials have really been leading in terms of taking actions related to the economy. And if we move to the next slide, we look specifically at categories compared to the total pop. And what you see across virtually every category is that the reaction of Millennials has been more pronounced than the general pop. So we're seeing they're more likely to be taking action. This cuts across categories.
One of the things that we're really looking at is this notion of the American dream and how it's evolving for both Gen Zs and Millennials. In addition to some of the quantitative data that we've been collecting since March, we've also been going into the field doing in-depth interviews among Millennials and Gen Zs. And this, I think, is one young person who really speaks for a lot of the findings we've been hearing from this generation in terms of how this is really kind of impacting their long-term planning, how they're thinking about the future, and how that is changing as a result of the pandemic. Moving on to the next slide, I want to do some comparisons between Gen Z and Millennials because we have also seen some very interesting distinctions between the two cohorts.
And when we look specifically at this slide in terms of kind of thinking about changes people might be making because of the pandemic, we again see the same story, that Millennials are saying that they are- this is impacting them more profoundly. And some of these certainly are related to life stage. So your Millennials are older, they're more likely to be in family formation stage. So certainly, if they're thinking about having kids or their career, they're farther along on that path so we would expect to see some differences there. But I think when you couple this with some of the other data that we've been collecting in terms of the reactions that Millennials have been having to the pandemic, I think it just kind of supports the story that this is something that is really having a profound impact on this generation, and we believe is going to cast a pretty long shadow on the economy when we think about where this generation is in terms of buying and spending habits. The fact that we are seeing these heightened levels of concern is something we're certainly watching and going to continue to watch in the months ahead. But it doesn't mean that Gen Zs-
MELANIE: Before you go on, for the group, could you give a quick definition of how you're defining Millennials and Gen Zs? And specifically for the Gen Zs, which ages are you surveying?
KATHY: Thank you for saying that. So what we have surveyed with Gen Zs is young people between the ages of 14 and 23, and then our Millennials are 24 all the way on up to about 39. Great question because, as I started my commentary, we would see the Gen Z generation going down to about age six now, so that being the bookend, as I mentioned in the beginning. But we did not interview that young, so we have started to- everything I'm going to share with you is age 14 and above. So thank you for that question. So if we look to the next slide. I'm going to pivot.
It's actually a good segue into Gen Zs. And so we talked about life stage and economics with Millennials. For Gen Zs, this defining moment is really I think tied to socialization, education, and expectations. And this is some qualitative research that we did a few weeks ago, so reflecting on kind of the end of year for young people, Gen Zs who were either in high school or in college, and how that sense of many of the life stage markers or the rites of passage for them were really just kind of taken away in such quick succession. So things like graduation, prom, all of these things that young people look forward to in terms of high school and college really pulled out from underneath them. And this leads us to talk about Gen Z operating in an environment- moving on to the next slide- of going from the fear of missing out, which, FOMO, I think we all are familiar with that term of feeling that you're not taking part in something, to this notion of NOMO. So the fact that we were not missing out but we're having no moments today.
So the things that we looked forward to or were seeing as kind of a critical trigger point into adulthood, graduating high school, all of these things have really been very disrupted in a very quick way, and we think are going to have very, very profound long-term impact on this generation in terms of how they think about things, how they think about this time in their lives, how they think about their transition from kind of a student, a kid to a young adult. Really, really profound impact on the generation.
I want to do a little bit more on thinking about education. Because when we are talking about Gen Zs, many of them are in that kind of student life stage. And we've probed specifically- and this is data that we just looked at teens, so not the entire Gen Z cohort, but just teens aged 13 to 17- and got some assessment on how they were feeling about remote learning. And what you see is that there's definitely some critical thinking here in terms of how we're thinking about remote learning. We have about a third saying that moving to distance learning was not as rigorous. There's feelings of isolation, that feeling that it's hard to be motivated, it's hard to self-direct in a remote learning environment. So all of this, I think, is really- the numbers that we're going to watch, particularly as we get into the new school year in August and September, and a lot of districts even just announcing this week some of their initial plans for how they're going to tackle that. So we are seeing definitely some reassessment in terms of the education process.
Thinking about colleges and re-calibration of the college experience, Moody's, earlier this spring, they actually downgraded the whole higher education category from one of stable to negative. So huge impacts in terms of higher education. One study was predicting a 15 percent drop in college enrollment this fall, and that equates to about a $23 billion revenue loss. So huge disruption here in education. And we see it in our data as well. Certainly, going to college, going to school is something so many young adults look forward to. And we see that 6 out of 10 say they still are looking forward and they want to go to college even if it as a remote component. Well, look at the flip side of that. You have 4 out of 10 saying, I'm thinking about taking some time off if college is remote. So pretty significant numbers here in terms of reassessing that college experience. And this is something that we've been tracking well before COVID. So if we move on to the next slide, we have one of our young people that we spoke to at the end of the school year very, very critical of her experience of going back home and what she's spending in terms of her higher education, and disillusionment in terms of that spend. And that was something we were tracking, as I said, well before COVID. We were tracking the trends of young people thinking about doing two years at a community or a local school and then switching to a different university for their junior and senior year, really kind of thinking about the value equation of higher education. So this was a trend that I think the foundation was already very much there, and COVID has just certainly accelerated that and put that into- put that really into a very laser focus. But just to conclude some, again, some Gen Z and Millennial compare and contrast, we do see Gen Z is a very pragmatic generation and we see this kind of resilience and pragmatism coming out in terms of how they think they're going to be on the other side of the pandemic. And I think some really good news here in terms of people thinking about this as an opportunity to become a better version of themselves, to accomplish something new.
Another quote from a Gen Z that speaks to kind of this dual- Chris talked about bifurcation in the market, and we see that as well. There is this sense of coming out of this, I've identified a resilience that maybe I didn't think I had, that I'm going to be happier than perhaps I thought I was going to be. But the push and pull of that happiness with really thinking about the economy and what this is the impact of this. So just wanted to conclude with a few thoughts. Looking at some of the Millennial data that we're seeing, where they are in terms of life stage and spending, and their heightened concern compared to other generations about the economy, I think speaks to definite headwinds coming forward in terms of economic recovery. With Gen Z, we certainly see this movement of fear of missing out to no moments and a sense of loss that is going to stick with this generation. We're seeing a lot around education disruption. Opportunities for young people who are self-directed and self-resilient, we think they can kind of achieve and get beyond this. We also think there's going to be implications for lifelong learning and how young people define that with education being disrupted today. So definitely a kind of push and pull when we see Gen Z and Millennials reacting to what's happening with the pandemic today. So, Melanie, I'll turn it back to you.
MELANIE: Thank you very much, Kathy. Next up we have Laura Craig with Delvinia.
LAURA CRAIG: Hi, everyone. Thanks. What I'm going to be talking about is a study that we partnered with the Insights Association on, looking at our own industry. So we have been working remotely for just a little over a month when we did this study. It's quite a wide-ranging study to understand how the research industry is doing through the pandemic. And I'll talk a little bit about the method. Because what we did is we used our virtual moderator, CRIS, and this let us gather both qualitative and quantitative feedback, and from 333 members across North America in just a little over a week. What CRIS does is it presents as a text-based chat. So a researcher provides a guide and then CRIS probes if the answers seem incomplete. The experience is like a conversation, so you can get more depth and emotion than through standard open-ends. There's a full report on the findings available. But what I'm going to do for the purpose of this is touch on some of the key highlights. So one of the key themes that we saw in the responses is the movement toward technology that's happened in the industry.
We had two-thirds of Insights Association members said that the way they do research has changed at least a little since the pandemic started, and this was mainly attributed to using technology. So certainly, they talked about research tech and that helping enable to get fieldwork done. Mainly that was in the area of qualitative. Qualitative research also directionally saw the greatest hit to revenue as in-person research became impossible. So that won't be a surprise to any of you. Clients were either delaying or canceling research. Some did manage to pivot those projects to online. So there's this pivot to online technologies. But technology, researchers were also talking about using technology to get their work done. So beyond getting primary research done, lots of the members talked about using technology in general. So video conferencing, communicating virtually with staff instead of in-person. So those are the kind of big changes to how our membership is doing research that's changed. What we did is we probed a little bit into the feelings about those changes, so how do Insights Association members feel about the changes to how they're doing research now.
What we did here for the analysis as a quick top line is we took a look at- because you can imagine, we had 333 responses- and to get a quick top line on how people are feeling about the changes, we used a sentiment analysis, the Google Cloud Languages sentiment API. And it was interesting because when we put the open-ends through that, we saw that the feelings around the changes were, on balance, either positive or neutral. And certainly, the negative feelings were mainly related to the loss of revenue. I mean, there's no question about that. With the silver linings that people were coming up with, and this is very- it's interesting, when I was hearing Kathy talking about the push and pull. We're feeling that in our own industry because research professionals were surprised at how easily they were able to pivot themselves and their whole staff in operations to working remotely.
So for example, someone said, employees have adapted remarkably well. They have a can-do attitude that is incredibly refreshing. These are things that I think people didn't expect going in. And people also talked about the idea of working from home, that that had improved their quality of life. Less time commuting and being on the road and things like that. Those were seen as positives. On the flip side, so it isn't all rosy, there have been challenges working through the pandemic. Financial insecurity is a very real concern. I know that you have hard numbers that you've been tracking throughout the pandemic on the impact on revenue. We also see researchers really missing the human connection and they're missing that human connection from being in the office, and then also from talking to participants and respondents.
So what we're missing is the nuances that in-person interaction allows us to pick up on, body language, facial cues, those kind of things. And it's both from a research perspective, but also from an interacting with our colleagues perspective. And then we certainly heard research professionals talking about the struggle of trying to work from home surrounded by family, kids, and pets. This was a cute quote with somebody really trying to make the best of the situation, but you can hear the tension here. So, working from home with a kid, husband, dog, and two cats constantly barging in and demanding things- OK, the cats keep to themselves, they're cool- is extremely challenging. So to wrap up, we asked members if they expected any of these changes will stick after the pandemic ends, and there were three key areas where Insights professionals are hopeful that there will be lasting changes. And they feel that the pandemic, we can use that as a benefit, the time of this pandemic as a benefit to be able to demonstrate that we can get work done effectively this way. So members talked about being more open to using online research technologies and methods more often. It's given both suppliers and clients a bit more confidence in trying new things. Making use of more flexible schedules which permit working from home. People are feeling, like we've shown, that it's possible for us to do that. And people talked about traveling significantly less. So that would be even talking to clients and in-person meetings maybe not being quite as necessarily but still important.
I just wanted to end on a more personal note. So here at Delvinia, our senior leadership's been involving staff in conversations about going back to the office, and people are excited about the prospect of having in-person interaction with our colleagues, but we are hearing a lot of anxiety about the uncertainty of what this new world will look like. So these conversations the industry is having about mental health is really an important thing for all of us to look at monitoring moving forward. Thank you.
MELANIE: Thank you. That's a great segue for me for where I'm going next. I'm going to talk you through our member survey on the actual financial and business impact. Randa, I see your question in the Q&A and so I think that this next section will give you some of that. And then I'm going to present one slide on the mental well-being. Both of these data are very fresh and not completely final even. We're hoping to get a few more responses on the COVID-19 and as well as the mental well-being, so. So let me just start with the COVID-19 impact. You know this is our third wave.
The light dotted line that you see in the quadrant represents this third wave. So what we're seeing here is that we are not seeing yet the rebound to the long-term impact concern or to the future pipeline and project decline. We're not seeing the industry say yet that from a business perspective, they feel like that we're starting to rebound. Although we're beginning to reopen cautiously and reenter offices, the industry's thoughts on the financial impact has not begun to rebound from compared to wave two and a high-level perspective. Most postponements are shifting to confirmed cancellations across all types of work. The need to move to in-person work is slowing down. Some begin to cautiously get back in the field, but that might also be because some of what could move already has and there's still a gap in demand. Budget cuts are widespread, impacting staff and some facility decisions even.
I've talked to quite a few people lately who are beginning to think about what their facility needs are going to be going forward. And then the initial reentry picture, some are proceeding cautiously while others remain very self-contained. And then finally, agency pipelines lighten up even further. And there's a gap that we've been seeing what the corporates say what their buying demand will be and what the agencies are actually feeling. And that gap actually right now seems to even be widening. So let me walk you through a little bit more of this. We have seen a growth. You can see this green square around wave three. A growth in more than 20 percent are saying that there have been cancellations, a slight shrink in postponements, with the thought being that those postponements have moved now into cancellations and they've seen more cancellations. 96 percent of people are still being flexible with their cancellation policies.
And then we're seeing all types of workers still being impacted by cancellations and postponements. You've got mostly quant are saying that 42 percent, mostly qual, 27 percent of companies that are equal parts, 31 percent are being impacted by cancellations and postponements. So it's really affecting the industry at large. And you know that that's true because it's not just about the type of person and the ability to do in-person, it's about the economy itself and the sectors that we serve, and major verticals like travel and leisure and entertainment and restaurants having to tighten their belts on spending. And that will across types of work. It won't just be affecting the in-person qual. So members shifting 80 percent or more of their in-person work to online has slowed, mostly because a lot of it has already been done. We talked about that a little bit. The need to move in-person is slowing as some people are getting back in field, and we've heard some really great stories about in-person qual that can be done. They've really changed their processes. You can talk to companies, member companies, and shared it in some of our other town halls, about the lengths and heavy lifting that they're doing to get in-person moving again, but changing everything about those in-person interactions are handled. So you'll see 12 percent are fully up and running or never stopped, 24 percent are using only limited markets and only tightly controlled facilities, but 64 percent are of those that were doing in-person work are still not doing the in-person work. And then at this point, since there's no sign of improvement, many are taking a hard look at expenses.
This is the reality of our industry and the least enthusiastic slide we have but it's important to know where we are. 35 percent at this point have said that they have made salary reductions. 22 percent have put cuts into other benefits that directly impact employees like perhaps changing their PTO or their 401(k) match, doing things to the benefits so they can keep more staff, 25 percent have laid off employees so that's slightly up, and 21 percent have furloughed employees. That's a newer measure. So together, you can see that there's been a large impact on layoffs and furloughs in our industry. Some are continuing efforts to ensure safety and reduce the overhead, 10 percent are beginning to- have eliminated building overhead expense have moved to 100 percent remote. Two percent, a good-news story is that it was 2 percent have permanently closed facilities in wave two, and that still sits at 2 percent. Hoping that that number doesn't move very much. But then 12 percent have temporarily closed their facilities versus 50 percent in wave two.
So then we began in this wave to ask about the reopening process. As you know, the Insights Association has given a lot of advice on opening offices in general, and then also, bespoke advice on opening in-person qualitative facilities. And so members are beginning to safely reenter the offices. So 57 percent have started to reopen offices. And of those, 70 percent are doing sanitizer and cleaning supplies, 65 percent are socially distanced desks. That's requiring quite a bit of work to make that happen inside facilities. 59 percent are requiring masks, 13 percent hiring specialized staff, 30 percent staggering start times. I've heard some cool stories about staggering and doing AB shifts of people. Specifically I heard some of that from Delvinia. Just lots of creativity to help people be able to come back but feel safe. And then 23 percent are not taking any special measures at this point. And then travel is still quite limited; 77 percent are not traveling. And then of those that are, 14 percent, it's only business-critical travel and 6 percent only to very low-risk markets.
And then this final slide just on the COVID-19 data that we have for you is, this is to show you that gap that is developing between percent of planned studies and what the pipeline looks like for the agencies. You'll see, compared to wave two, a bit of a growth in the corporate, though this is a small base size, and this number- as we get more data, this number may shift a little bit. But we're seeing more people saying that they expect some growth. And maybe that's philosophically and psychologically thinking that they were shrinking, and now maybe they're thinking they might be able to come back. But I've also heard from corporates that they're doing a lot more COVID and racial and diversity inclusion research, so it may be that they're doing more research but they're doing it differently. We probably need to dig into that. And they're spending it in different ways. But then the pipeline from the agency perspective is certainly not seeing that kind of optimism. The large decline has grown to 40 percent, and then some decline has shifted to 39 percent. It's overall about the same. 80 percent of our total members are somewhat or very concerned about the future outlook of their pipelines and they're still seeing large pipeline declines. So with that, how are we doing? We felt it very important to begin partnering - and thank you to our partners on this work, which are Quester, Gongos, and Infotools. Thank you for your continued support on that work. And then on this work, we're partnering with Opinium and with MRS out of the UK. Thank you very much.
We had almost 500 responses on this mental well-being and we hope to gather some more. This is brand-new so it's a bit of a word-bomb chart, but I really wanted to share a few things with you. On the just general well-being findings, we found that 83 percent have experienced some sort of a mental health concern in the last 12 months. It's a really big number but it's also defined pretty broadly- depression, anxiety, feeling low or down or stressed. 85 percent, though, even if you think that it's a widely defined panic attack sort of mental health concern, 85 percent said that their work was negatively impacted by this. It causes them to have low energy at work or to be concerned or to just feel like they need to sort of take a time out. Only 30 percent of those actually took any time off due to that. Versus if you have a physical health problem, 42 percent take off. If you have a mental concern or an anxiety issue, only 30 percent are actually taking any time off for that. 58 percent of those who struggled with it have told someone about it, but that means 42 percent have not. And then that 41 percent seems highly tied to that would feel embarrassed if their colleagues discovered that they were struggling at all with what's going on in their world or the world around them. And then 10 percent says that their workplace doesn't offer anything to support mental well-being. But that also means that 90 percent said that they do, so that was an encouraging finding that there are resources out there. And then specifically to the COVID-19 findings and mental well-being, 64 percent said that their employer has been very supportive during the pandemic, but 11 percent said that their employer has not been supportive. The most interesting finding to me, almost the whole industry is working from home, 97 percent. We've seen that. But many want to keep working from home to varying degrees. 94 percent want to keep working from home. And I've heard stories in talking with people all over the place about, as we start to try to bring people back, there's a lot of emotion and anxiety that's affiliated with that.
They miss people but they also really love being able to work from home more and being in the commute less, and there's also anxiety about the actual return to work. Overall, the industry were feeling negative about returning to the office, 46 percent feeling apprehensive, and 47 percent feeling reluctant. And the top concerns are general hygiene at the office, logistics of that social distancing and wearing masks, and then losing the free time gained when working from home. So there's going to have to be, as Adam Froman from Delvinia said, we were sharing yesterday, there's just going to have to be this balance that we develop. How do we balance the needs of the employees, the needs of the business, and the needs of society, how do we balance all of those as we- but we do have to protect our industry and protect our businesses. What are we losing when we're not together often enough, balanced with what are we losing when we push people into situations that make them uncomfortable. So what we think is that there'll be a real hybrid solution that comes and maybe lasts for a while, because people have really enjoyed some of the freedoms and balances that it's given them. So that is what I have for you on mental well-being and COVID-19 for the industry. So now we will move into Q&A. I think the first one that I want to pop over is for Chris. Thank you for being with us. Chris, a few questions for you specifically from Kevin and Steve around urban versus rural and Democrat versus Republican. You looked at the parties. Did you look at the geography?
CHRIS: We did. Yeah. And geography is certainly an important distinction in terms of COVID-related behavior. It's less of a distinction than partisanship is, so Democrats who live in rural areas look more like Democrats who live in urban areas. Republicans in rural areas, Republicans in urban areas. But we do see that people in rural areas are less likely to report they're wearing masks, that they're engaging in social distancing, all that kind of stuff, compared to people who live in urban areas. And then there is also a geography component. People particularly in the Northeast are the ones who sort of report the highest levels of concern and generally speaking the highest levels of social distancing behavior. It's actually people in the Midwest are the ones who are reporting the least level of concerns in social distancing behavior, as the Midwest hasn't necessarily seen quite the same level of outbreak now as experienced in the South and was earlier experienced in the Northeast. So that's sort of what the geographical pattern looks like. But it is a distinction. It's just less of a distinction than partisanship.
MELANIE: Thank you. And related to that, a question for you. Simon was asking, in your research, we've begun to- in our circles, we're hearing more a little bit of despair tinged with depression and tinged with despair at the resurgence of the virus. Are you picking up any of that sort of sentiment? How is the country feeling, not just about the economy, but about the resurgence of the virus?
CHRIS: There's a lot of anxiety out there, so I think that's definitely happening. There's a lot of concern, which I think corresponds with anxiety. We've not yet necessarily seen anything that I would sort of define as despair, but I think that's probably something that's a little bit of a lagging indicator. But I do think there is a lot of frustration that's happening, that people are sort of just a little bit incredulous that we're still dealing with this and that it seems to be such a mess. And I think that's what was driving the increase in that trust in government measure that I showed, is people just sort of being fed up that everything seems to be such a mess, to sort of phrase it politely, and just incredulous that we've not been able to figure out how to manage this better.
MELANIE: So a question for Laura. You were using the API to analyze the open-ends. That's interesting. Have you done a comparison of manually coded open-ends to Google-coded open-ends?
LAURA: We've taken a look at that and it's not perfect. None of these- the technology isn't going to replace humans anytime soon. What it does, though, is it gives you a really good top-line sense of what it is that's happened. And the other thing would be using text summarization tools and things like that. So we can use those kind of things to identify themes and give you a quick sense of what's happening in the data, and then you can go and take a look at that. But that particular finding, when we took a look through the data, is pretty accurate in terms of how the responses reflected the emotion.
MELANIE: Kathy, a question for you, and this one's actually from me. I noticed this difference between the Gen Z and the Millennial optimism. Is some of that just due to age, do you think? Or is it, do you think, truly more of a cultural, psychological difference, like I was more confident when I was younger and I had so many years ahead of me. Do you think that they're- I'm just trying to understand, is it more of an actual generational difference in psychology? Or do you think it might be that they still have so many years ahead of them, especially at some of the ages that we were interviewing?
KATHY: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a little bit of both. Certainly, there's a life-stage effect. But we do see a big- when you look at the values and the aspirations and the attitudes of the generations, you do see a lot of differences. So for Millennials, there was kind of, definitely this overwhelming optimism and high aspirations which I think, given the economic realities is because some of those aspirations are being dashed so dramatically. I think that's why we see the more pronounced responses that we are seeing from Millennials. Whereas Gen Z, more pragmatic perhaps and not as high expectations. So almost more taking things a little bit in stride. And we often talk about how- gross generalization- but Millennials, for the most part, are children of Boomers, and Gen Zs, for the most part, are children of Gen X-ers. And the parenting styles and kind of the DNA of a Boomer versus a Gen X-er and how that has translated to how they raise their kids and how their kids are kind of reacting to the world around them, I think is very, is pretty different. So of course, some of the questions that I saw. There was a question that came in the chat. Of course some of these things are going to vary if you're talking to a 32-year-old versus a 19-year-old because of their life experience and where they are. But I would say that many of these things are really driven by the cultural DNA of these two generations.
MELANIE: Thank you. And then back to you, Chris, from Steve again. The two questions that I was looking for. One was, did you look at primary news source? So you look at urban and rural. And did you look at like where they get their news from? And then also, any insights as to why Hispanics are less impacted on the back-to-work metrics?
CHRIS: So on news sources, I think it's a little bit predictable in that people who primarily get their news from conservative sources are the most optimistic about the shape of the economy, least concerned with the Coronavirus pandemic, and least likely to take any protective steps. People who primarily are referring to sort of more liberal media sources like MSNBC are sort of at the other end. People that use traditional network news, ABC, CBS, NBC, are sort of a little bit in the middle. What was actually interesting, though, is that the group that was least concerned with the pandemic overall are actually people who are not news consumers, people who, when we asked them where do you get your news from, they say nowhere. They don't really consume the news at all. They were actually even less worried about the pandemic than Fox viewers, for instance. So there was a really interesting pattern there. Regarding Hispanics and the employment, so Hispanics were extremely hard hit in the early stages of the shutdown. They're very much over-represented in sort service sector jobs and construction jobs. However, the Hispanic population does work in a lot of sectors that were sort of subsequently marked as essential, like construction trades, and were essentially able to sort of get back to work at a much quicker rate than some other communities were. That being said, I think the Hispanic community, I mean, our data, this is from a survey, the federal data on employment does suggest that Hispanics are still lagging White Americans in returning to work overall, with Black Americans sort of still having the worst outcomes at the moment. But I think it's more about sort of the distribution of working-age Hispanics in particular sectors and being concentrated in sectors that were sort of more able to return quicker, rather than more purely service jobs that have been very slow to return.
MELANIE: Thank you. A couple of quick questions, I think pointed towards me. I saw Lisa's comment about digging into the types of work that's growing. I think that's a great piece of feedback. Two things on there. Somebody else asked if we cut some of the data by corporate and agency. The corporate number is rather low still, so we're still in field on this and we'll try to get some more and then be able to do some more cuts. And then, Lisa, I think it's a great comment to do some follow-up and see if we could illustrate where it's growing and where it's not and where the money's going. And then, Meryl Chagall, thank you for your question, I see. What strategies are companies thinking about? I don't have a lot of- I don't have quantitative data. But from my conversations with people, there are a couple of themes. One is that they're using the same space but they're distancing people out more and then having them come in in shifts. So they're still using about the same footprint, at least for now. For those CEOs that I've talked to that actually have leases coming up, they are actively reconsidering the size of the space that they need and changing their lease plans. Some of these lease terms can be for so long, though. So the only other thing I would say is that in the old world, you could try to sublease, but the sublease market is kind of dead right now. So mostly what I'm seeing is spreading people out more, using the same space, and bringing people in in shifts, and then looking for that window when you have your lease renewals and completely reconsidering what that might look like. And maybe we can have a specific town hall or a conversation, some piece of work on this topic. I think it might be helpful. So I think we've covered it all. We've got one minute left. I did want to share with everybody a quick piece of news, one other piece of research that you could help us with was how you want to approach CRC in the fall. So based on your feedback, we're going to go to a new format we're really excited about. It will be Tuesdays and Thursdays for three hours a day, October 13th through 29th. So a three-week window. We'll have a keynote each day and then we'll also have a learning opportunity and a networking event and some breakouts. It's going to be a very, very cool event. You know that we did Nextwell and we're going to take it up a level for CRC, so be looking for that information. And our plan is to do another virtual town hall in a couple of weeks, and this one will probably be focused again on reopening property and maybe even on some scenario planning. So thank you all very, very much. I appreciate your time today. Again, we'll follow up with everyone, get them the slides, and get them the transcripts. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Kathy. Thank you, everyone, for being with us today. And stay well, stay safe, and try to get a little sun when and if you can.