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Nabs reports 14% rise in calls from ‘despondent’ adland as furlough end nears


By John Glenday | Reporter

August 12, 2021 | 4 min read

A regular health check of industry sentiment conducted by Nabs has uncovered a concerning rise in despondency among advertising and media professionals during the pandemic.

Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash

Employee support charity Nabs has registered a 14% rise in calls relating to low mood since 2020

The employee support charity registered a 14% rise in calls relating to low mood since 2020, as adlanders scramble to sign on for masterclass places and rebuild confidence.

Despondency prevails

  • Nabs has noted warning signals that all may not be rosy in the adland garden after registering a sharp 14% rise in calls relating to low mood since 2020.

  • The charity has witnessed the impact of this general malaise, with a dramatic 48% jump in attendance at its group coaching sessions, with classes focused on rebuilding confidence proving to be the biggest draw as apprehensive employees prepare for a return to the office.

  • Conscious of the problem and actively seeking solutions, marketers have been scrambling to learn how to build rapport remotely, work as a team when apart and adapt to home and hybrid working.

  • Nabs has also registered specific concerns from working mothers, anxious that the pandemic has detrimentally impacted their careers.

Adlanders cry out for help

  • The main reasons for people reaching out to the Nabs advice line and chatbot for help in the first half of 2021 were financial assistance (32%), emotional support (27%) and redundancy (18%).

  • These figures show a marked rise in demand for financial support, with the proportion of calls related to emotional support and redundancy actually decreasing this year even as confidence sinks.

  • Annabel McCaffrey, head of support at Nabs, said: “If someone needs to retrain or needs money to make ends meet, we can assist with a grant; we also support people with money management and debt management. We’re here for our industry through what continues to be a tough period, both emotionally and financially.”

  • Stepping into the breach, Nabs is promoting its offer of one-to-one career and wellbeing coaching, which have been undersubscribed during lockdown.

  • Diana Tickell, chief exec at Nabs, added: “Our stats for the first half of 2021 reveal that as an industry we have to do more to support people’s low mood before we start to see more increases in this area. Relying on summer breaks won’t be enough. This is especially important as we face new challenges over the next few months, and uncertainty and anxiety may increase as people start to focus on returning to the office.

  • “We’re in a brace position for the end of furlough, with parts of our industry that are still struggling. We’re also anticipating challenges due to some employees’ and organizations’ differing expectations around hybrid and flexible working.”

  • Nabs has previously warned of the long-term financial and emotional toll being wrought by Covid on the workforce.

Work & Wellbeing Agency Culture Marketing

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NABS is here to help improve life for those working in the world of advertising and media via the provision of advice, support and career guidance.

NABS believes that by supporting people in our industry through good times and bad, we can make working life a bit easier in such a dynamic and volatile industry.

Alongside financial grants NABS also offers a wide range of everyday services including career coaching, the NABS Advice Line and workshops covering a range of topics from pressure, confidence and gravitas, to parenting and work/life balance.

NABS is funded entirely by voluntary donations from the media and advertising industry it supports. 


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