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  • Coronavirus Quick Poll

    Trends & Predictions
    NACE staff analyzes survey results.

    TAGS: trends and predictions, surveys, coronavirus

    NACE launched its fourth Coronavirus Quick Poll on June 1 as it continued to collect data from both employers and colleges to assess critical issues facing the field—from job offers to operations—as a result of this pandemic. The poll ran through June 30; these are the final results.

    Updated July 1, 2020

    June 2020 Quick Poll Results

    The June employer quick poll covered job offers, including revoked offers and delayed start dates, while the June college poll addressed services, staffing, budgets, and planning for fall 2020. In addition to asking new questions, NACE revived critical questions from past quick polls that needed continued monitoring. Please see the charts below this summary for more results.

    Employers (n = 246)
    Although a relatively small percentage of employers revoked the offers for full-time jobs they made to Class of 2020 college graduates, the number peaked for the time being, after growing substantially since NACE asked the question during NACE’s April quick poll. Still, delaying start dates or having full-time hires begin to work remotely were more common responses through June.

    • 7.8% of employers revoked or planned to revoke full-time offers to graduates from the Class of 2020. This percentage climbed overall, although it was down from 9.0% in mid-June. On May 1, only 4.4% of employers were revoking offers to full-time recruits. As a benchmark, this number reached about 9.5% at its peak during the Great Recession of 2008-09. Interestingly, the percentage of undecideds slowly increased during the month, possibly reflecting the negative news associated with state reopenings.
    • Although based on a very small number of responses (n = 23), employers that revoked offers were either revoking nearly all their offers or only a small percentage of them—with only one respondent falling in the middle.
    • 31% of responding employers delayed start dates for full-time hires from the Class of 2020. This percentage remained fairly stable throughout the month of June.
    • Among employers delaying start dates, most (73%) reported the length of the delay was one to three months.
    • While selecting all options that applied, recruiting offices relied on various factors when determining whether to delay start dates. For example, 57% of respondents considered local government orders/regulations, and 58% considered governors’ executive orders and state regulations. On average, respondents considered two to three of the provided factors when making their decision to delay start dates. Interestingly, poll data show that, as the month has progressed and more governors and local municipalities began relaxing restrictions, recruiters increased their consideration of whether reliable and safe procedures had been established to reopen safely. Moreover, recruiters had fewer concerns about reduced demand and revenues to pay employees’ salaries as employers perceived the economy to be improving.
    • 58% of employers planned to start full-time hires working remotely. This figure dropped consistently from 66% at the start of the month, likely reflecting that more workplaces were reopening and bringing people back to work at their physical locations.
    • 57% of respondents still needed to determine the duration of the remote start for their new college hires, while 25% planned for the remote start to last one to three months.

    Colleges (n = 477)
    Both students and employers should expect reduced in-person career services available in the fall, with services shifting online or into a hybrid (in-person and online) format. While career fairs generally appeared to be staying on schedule, they, too, planned to move online at a substantial rate.

    • Clearly, career centers will provide more services either exclusively online or in a hybrid (in-person and online) format, significantly reducing the amount of services provided exclusively in person. For example, 69% of respondents offered drop-in career counseling only in person pre-COVID-19, while only 5% of respondents planned to do so in fall 2020.
    • While selecting all answers that applied, 64% of career centers reported that professional staffing levels remained the same, and 15% reported professional staff was decreased. Additionally, 11% of respondents indicated that student workers will not be allowed into the physical space of the career center, while 39% noted that there are still decisions to be made around these staffing issues.
    • 17% of career centers reported that their budget had been reduced by more than 10% for fall 2020. This figure remained relatively steady since finishing the May poll at 16%.
    • Although 32% of career centers were still undecided about making changes in scheduling for their fall 2020 career fairs, 55% were staying on schedule, but moving fairs to a virtual space. As June progressed, those that were undecided did decide to stay on schedule, but move their fairs to a virtual space.
    • 16% of career centers reported that their institutions moved up the start of the fall term to early August; this steadily increased from 8.5% at the beginning of the month. In addition, 62% indicated that no changes were planned, and the percentage of those that were undecided dropped from 39% to 22% over the course of the month.

    May 2020 Quick Poll Results

    • Summary (Posted 6/1/20)

      Employers (n = 339)
      As we have seen in the results from our previous polls, employers are trying to avoid making decisions until they have more information, with particular interest in what their college counterparts will do in the fall. In order to fully plan, for example, employers want to know if their target schools will be on-campus, virtual, or hybrid. It appears that a large group of employers are hoping to stay on their familiar recruiting schedule, but, for example, 38 percent are still waiting to see how the situation continues to unfold. Although we have been in the grips of this pandemic for two to three months by now, there is still a lack of visibility into the future of the economy.

      • While selecting all options that applied, 64% of recruiting offices are not changing their staffing levels, 27% have instituted a hiring freeze and 8% have laid off staff.
      • 45% of offices have not seen changes in their budget. Meanwhile, 18% of offices have seen their budget decrease by more than 10% and 29% are still undecided about making changes to their budget.
      • 21% have implemented spending freezes.
      • Though the sample size is small (n = 51), 57% of respondents indicate that their spending freeze is indefinite, and 16% report that the freeze will last one to three months. Over the course of the month, there was movement away from a one-to-three-month spending freeze and toward a freeze of an indefinite length.
      • Again, selecting all options that apply, recruiting offices report increasing their virtual recruiting activities, particularly by opting for live, interactive methods as opposed to recorded ones. For example, 61% report they will conduct live virtual employer information sessions compared to the 25% that indicate they will use recorded employer information sessions.
      • 39% of recruiting offices plan to maintain their standard recruiting schedule, while nearly the identical percentage (38%) are uncertain and waiting to see how the situation continues to unfold.
      • Aside from those respondents that are undecided or have not initiated this planning yet, a notable group is expecting to take a hybrid (mix of virtual and in person) approach to recruiting in fall 2020 and an in-person approach in spring 2021. However, over the course of the month so far, there was an increase in the percentage of respondents that expect an entirely virtual 2020-21 academic year (or at least a virtual fall 2020).
      • 18% of recruiting offices are planning to make their list of target schools more geographically compact. Another 47% are still undecided on how or if they will change their list of target schools; some are waiting to see if schools return to campus before deciding.

      Colleges (n = 600)
      Colleges have shown deeper cuts, spending freezes, and greater uncertainty in planning for the fall than have their employer counterparts. For example, about 50 percent of colleges implemented spending freezes compared to about 20 percent of employers. Another instance of uncertainty is demonstrated by 55 percent of colleges remain undecided about the timing of their career fairs in fall 2020.

      • While selecting all options that applied, 56% of career centers report no change in staffing levels, while 38% indicating they have implemented a hiring freeze. Furloughs appear to be slowly increasing.
      • 25% of career centers report no change in their budget; however, 16% have seen their budgets decrease by more than 10% and 48% are still undecided.
      • 50% of career centers have implemented spending freezes.
      • 65% of career centers indicate the spending freeze is indefinite, while 18% report it will last one to three months.
      • Again selecting all options that apply, career centers are engaging students in various ways, with a surprising 78% making phone calls to reach students and 53% using live Q&A sessions on social media.
      • 54% of career centers are still undecided on changes to their fall career fairs. However, it appears colleges are starting to make these decisions as the percentage of undecideds started shrinking mid-month.
      • An increasing number of career centers are planning for a hybrid fall 2020 and an in-person spring 2021. This figure started at 22% on May 11 but has steadily risen to 28% as of June 1.
      • 61% of institutions are still undecided on changes to their calendar for the 2020-21 academic year, while 36% say there are no changes planned.

      Colleges (n = 493)
      Colleges have shown deeper cuts, spending freezes, and greater uncertainty in planning for the fall than have their employer counterparts:

      • 55% of career centers report no change in staffing levels, with 38% indicating they have implemented a hiring freeze. Furloughs and layoffs appear to be slowly increasing.
      • 26% of career centers report no change in their budget; however, 14% have seen their budgets decrease by more than 10% and 48% are still undecided.
      • 51% of career centers have implemented spending freezes.
      • 69% of career centers indicate the spending freeze is indefinite, while 19% report it will last one to three months.
      • Career centers are engaging students in various ways, with a surprising 77% making phone calls to reach students and 52% using live Q&A sessions on social media.
      • 58% of career centers are still undecided on changes to their fall career fairs. The 4% decrease in those that were undecided from last week appears to be the result of career centers that have decided to keep their fairs on schedule, but to move them to a virtual space.
      • An increasing number of career centers are planning for a hybrid fall 2020 and an in-person spring 2021. This figure started at 22% on May 11 but has steadily risen to 28% as of May 25. Another 51% of career centers have begun their planning but remain undecided on their approach to the 2020-21 academic year.
      • 62% of institutions are still undecided on changes to their calendar for the 2020-21 academic year, while 36% say there are no changes planned.
    • Employer Response

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    • Career Services Response

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    April 2020 Quick Poll Results

    • Summary (Posted 5/1/20)

      Employers (n = 439)

      Although employers have been trying to maintain a wait-and-see approach, it appears they are starting to make difficult decisions regarding job offer revocations, adaptations to summer 2020 internships, and expectations for recruiting the Class of 2021. See the charts below for full details.

      • About 22% of employers are revoking offers to interns, while only 4.4% of employers are revoking offers to full-time recruits. Both of these figures have grown over the course of the month. 19% of employers remain undecided, down from 22% at the beginning of the month.
      • Employers who are reporting that they are revoking offers to their interns for summer 2020 have revoked about two-thirds of their internship offers (based on 122 employer responses).
      • Employers that are revoking offers to their full-time recruits have revoked about 53% of those offers. Please continue to interpret this finding with caution as it is based on only 22 responses.
      • In general, employers are adapting their summer 2020 internship programs by moving as much programming to a virtual space as possible. On April 3, 65% of employers intended to make changes to their internship programs; by April 30, that percentage had grown to 83%.
      • The most optimistic piece of data from the April quick poll is that 61% of employers plan to recruit the Class of 2021 at the same level as the Class of 2020. An additional 16% are still undecided.
      • By a large margin, employers expect to attend both virtual and in-person career fairs in fall 2020.
      • It appears that employers will increase their use of virtual platforms to recruit in fall 2020, though a very large chunk are still undecided on this question.

      Colleges (n = 839)

      Colleges appear to have settled into how they are interacting with students and providing services, but they are starting to make decisions on holding career fairs in fall 2020 and how they will facilitate employer recruiting interviews. Please see the charts below for more details.

      • 99% of career centers are continuing to connect with students virtually.
      • Career centers continue to provide resume reviews, job-search advice, and general counseling. In addition, there is an uptick in the number of career workshops being provided, likely because technology use has become more familiar and classes are settling into their virtual spaces.
      • The percentage of career centers planning to hold on-campus career fairs continues to fall, from 37% as of April 3 down to 25% as of April 30. In that same time frame, the percentage of career centers planning to hold only virtual fairs has more than doubled, from 4.5% to 10.5%. However, in spite of this, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty in the field, as 28% are yet to decide on their path forward.
      • Similarly, career centers are increasingly planning on facilitating employer interviews through virtual platforms, though a plurality of career centers (42%) are planning on using a combination of in-person and virtual spaces.
      • Essentially unchanged from when the poll was launched on April 1, only about 7% of schools will provide financial support to students if their paid internship has been revoked; however, most students will be at ease to know they will receive academic credit for their internship if it has been changed from in-person to virtual.
    • Employer Response

      Employers: Chart 1

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    • Career Services Response

      Career Services: Chart 1

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    March 2020 Quick Poll Results

    • Summary (Posted 3/27/20)

      Employers (n = 361)

      • Changes to the workplace indicate work being done remotely with electronic communication, while maintaining general staff meetings.
        • Almost half of the employers in the survey have asked their employees to work from home. The other half may partially consist of employers whose staff can’t work from home (e.g., manufacturers).
      • Over a quarter of employers will no longer recruit on campus this Spring, while over an eighth have eliminated all college recruiting for the spring.
      • Though 91% of employers planned to continue with internships as planned (as of 3/13/20), that number is down to 71% (as of 3/27/20). The large group of “Other” responses (23%) generally relate that they are still taking a wait-and-see approach while they evaluate different options such as reducing the length of the internship, the number of interns, and/or moving the experience online.
      • About two-thirds of employers have eliminated all non-essential travel, including attendance at conferences.

      Colleges (n = 1,055)

      • Changes to the campus include immediate cancellation of study abroad programs by about 55% of respondents. That number has remained extremely stable since 3/13/20, indicating that was the first change that most schools made right away; the remaining 45% may not have study abroad programs. The other options in the question all show that more schools implemented more restrictions on campus as the weeks have progressed.
      • It is striking that 54% of schools moved all their classes online within a span of two weeks.
      • In terms of changes to their Spring recruiting programming, nearly half of schools cancelled their on-campus career fairs, on-campus interviewing programs, and inviting employers on campus to present to students.
        • The large “Other” group of responses generally indicate that career centers moved any or all programming to a virtual setting.
      • About 86% of schools instituted some type of travel restrictions on their faculty and/or staff, with nearly two-thirds prohibiting attendance at professional conferences for the foreseeable future.
    • Employer Response

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    • Career Services Response

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