Fixation on Histology

COVID-19: NSH's Second Survey Results


In May, NSH started a survey project with the aim of determining how COVID-19 had impacted employment for the histology profession. Our first iteration of this survey was well received, garnering 704 responses. Read the results of the first survey here.


After the publication of the results of the first survey, we opened a new version of the survey. The second survey dug deeper into the reasons for travel restrictions and added the option of “Returned to Work” to gauge the number of people returning to employment. The second iteration of NSH’s COVID-19 Survey received fewer responses than the original, closing June 15th with 308 responses, compared to the initial survey’s 704. Similar to the original survey, the second survey respondents came from all areas of the histology field. Still, the majority were technicians/scientists from community hospitals from within the US and Canada.


More than half of the respondents (66%) had not experienced any job loss. This is up from 51% on the last survey. The number who reported reduced work was down, from 31% to 17%. Similarly, furloughed/laid off was down from 16.6% to 8%. 11.4% reported having had hours reduced but were now back at work. However, many respondents indicated they need to continue to take a reduction in pay, use vacation time to supplement time off, or work reduced hours, even after returning to work.


Travel remains restricted, with only 12% reporting that there had been no restrictions placed on their travel. 28.5% of respondents say their employer has completely banned travel. In comparison, another 15% say their employer has put quarantine restrictions in place upon return, which would be prohibitive to their ability to travel.


Have you personally experienced a job loss due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy?

How has COVID-19 impacted your working arrangements?

How has COVID-19 impacted your ability to travel to business-related conferences?

These results are in line with the results of the first survey, in which 33% report unsure, 32% reported complete suspension, 11% reported no impact, and 23% reported restriction.

What is your primary area of practice?

What is your position description?


Job Situation by Region


Some of the results from the second survey are in line with the results of the original survey. In the first iteration, Regions V and IV reported the highest levels of reduced work/furloughs. Region V in the second survey continued to report the lowest levels of “no change,” and Region IV saw one of the more significant percentages of “back to work.”

Job Situation by Position


Job loss was confined primarily to Technicians/Scientists. Supervisors and Lab Managers experienced some reduced work and returned to work. There was no change for the pathologists and lab assistants (though these made up an insignificant portion of the survey respondents). The first survey had more respondents, which gave more diversity in job titles, so we did see small segments of other job titles furloughed in the first survey, but in each survey, Technician/Scientist made up over ¾ths of the furloughs.


Job Situation by Area of Practice


The results of the second survey are consistent with the first. The first survey showed those in private labs more likely to be furloughed or reduced work, which explains why there is a sizeable private lab segment in this survey’s back to work category. There were fewer private lab respondents who were furloughed in the second survey, potentially because of the large part of that segment that moved into back-to-work. Research/University respondents were more likely to have experienced no change to their job, as opposed to being furloughed or reduced work.


Travel Restrictions by Industry


This question was elaborated in the second survey to determine why people were not allowed to travel. Private labs were less likely to place restrictions on their employees. Community hospitals were more likely to have employees quarantined upon return from travel, which is prohibitive to their ability to travel, as they would be required to miss additional time at work. Research was more likely to have some time of restriction, either budgetary, quarantine, or completely banned. Only a very small research segment had no restrictions whatsoever.