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  • Quick Poll: Employers Maintaining Plans for College Hiring, Holding Internships

    May 05, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    NACE Research analyzes results from its coronavirus quick poll.

    TAGS: best practices, internships, operations, trends and predictions, spotlight, coronavirus

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    NACE is polling its members regarding their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The April poll closed on April 30. The following analysis was made after a review of the month’s results. NACE launched a third poll on May 4, which will cover planning for fall 2020; it will run through May 31. Updates on results from the poll will be available weekly in May (May 11, 18, 26), with final results posted on June 1.

    Throughout April, employers responded to the coronavirus pandemic by making decisions regarding the status of their summer internship and college recruiting programs, according to the final results of NACE’s April Coronavirus Quick Poll.

    NACE’s April Coronavirus Quick Poll revealed that just 4.4 percent of participating employers reported revoking their offers to the new college graduates they had recruited prior to the pandemic for full-time positions to start following graduation. However, more than one-fifth (22 percent) indicated that they are revoking their offers to interns for the summer.

    Still, regarding internship programs, the more common response to the pandemic is that employers are moving their programs to the virtual space for the summer or reducing the length of internships by delaying their start date.

    Making the shift to the virtual space is the most common adaptation employers are making to their internship programs. In fact, the percentage of employers moving interns to virtual has grown from 36 percent at the beginning of April to 46 percent by the month’s end.

    The percentage of employers shortening the length of their internship programs also increased during April, albeit more slightly, from 35 percent to 41 percent.

    Looking ahead to fall recruiting for the college Class of 2021, 16 percent of employers plan to decrease hiring from this year, with just 6 percent expecting to increase their hiring. The majority—61 percent—plan to recruit the Class of 2021 at the same level they did for the Class of 2020.

    The way in which employers connect with college students next fall may be somewhat unfamiliar. The percentage of career centers planning to hold on-campus career fairs next fall tumbled throughout April, from 37 percent on April 3 to 25 percent on April 30.

    During that same time frame, the percentage of career centers planning to only hold virtual fairs more than doubled, from 4.5 percent to 10.5 percent. There is still quite a bit of uncertainty in the field, as 28 percent have yet to decide on their path forward.

    Career centers are increasingly planning on facilitating employer interviews through virtual platforms, although a plurality of career centers (42 percent) is planning on using a combination of in-person and virtual methods.

    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.

    • 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. In addition, 19% of employers remain undecided, down from 22% at the beginning of the month.
    • Employers that 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%.
    • 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.

    • 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.

    For the latest information about the impact of coronavirus on our field—including results of the quick polls NACE is conducting among its membership and the ways members are responding to the pandemic—see NACE’s Coronavirus Updates page.