IALD Measures Impact of COVID-19 on the Lighting Design Profession

by | Dec 21, 2020 | News

In October, the IALD released an article detailing the results of a survey they had issued to lighting design firms. The purpose of the survey was to see how COVID-19 impacted the lighting design industry and their businesses. The results were somewhat expected, with activity declining and projects slowing down.

This is not the only takeaway, though, as the survey was much more detailed and provided a look into industry specific impacts to a level the industry has not seen before. Below are some of the graphs and findings of the survey. Sectors that involved public interaction or outings were the most heavily hit by the pandemic as one might expect (see FIGURE 1). Interestingly, not every sector was negatively impacted, as the government, health, and residential sectors increased by a significant degree. These findings support the current news cycle we’ve heard from the industry, primarily the current discussion surrounding UV-C implementation and the use of lighting as a disinfectant. These measures are naturally focused on essential sectors, such as government and health, to combat the pandemic. It is encouraging to see positive developments in the sea of bad news that comes with a pandemic.

Additionally, the IALD assessed project progress and the ability for designers to conduct business (see FIGURE 2). The results indicate that designers have been able to get back to working on projects at a faster rate in October than in the early days of the pandemic (in this case, the month of May). More projects are moving ahead slowly, and less projects have slowed or stopped in October than in May. There has been a substantial level of adaption throughout all industries when it comes to finding ways to safely conduct business amidst a pandemic, and it is nice to see that the lighting design profession is included in that number.

Finally, the IALD examined the impact on staffing and internal operations (see FIGURE 3). Almost half of the lighting firms surveyed were able to retain all staff that were on board before the pandemic. Unfortunately, employment opportunities are decreasing in the profession, along with some instances of layoffs and wage decreases. One could look at these results with a glass half-full or half-empty perspective, but given the headlines that were first emerging about employment and economic hardships throughout the world, lighting designers don’t seem to have been hit as hard as other professionals.

Overall, the lighting design profession is not immune to the impacts of COVID-19, virtually no industry is, but the positive trends these results show is an encouraging look to the future of our industry. We thank the IALD for publishing these results and allowing us to use their findings.

The IALD’s initial article on these results can be found at https://www.iald.org/News/In-the-News/Impacts-of-COVID-19-on-the-Lighting-Design-Profess.

This article originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of designing lighting.