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  • Quick Poll: Employers Resisting Large Changes, Colleges Making Deeper Cuts

    May 18, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    A university relations and recruiting director evaluates the operating budget.

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

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    NACE launched its third Coronavirus Quick Poll on May 4. The poll covers staffing, budgets, and planning for fall 2020, and it will run through May 31. Updates on results from the poll will be available weekly (May 11, 18, and 26), with final results posted on June 1. Results will also be discussed during the weekly, members-only “Meet Up With Shawn” sessions.

    NACE’s May Quick Poll is nearing its midpoint and some tendencies are evident in the ways employers and colleges are responding to the effects of the pandemic on their operations. (See the charts for more details.)

    As we have seen in our previous polls, employers are trying to avoid making large changes in their budgets and staffing.

    On the other hand, colleges are making deeper cuts, freezing spending, and exhibiting greater uncertainty in planning for the fall than is the case with their employer counterparts. In addition, career centers are engaging students in various ways, with a surprising 76 percent making phone calls to reach students.

    Employers (n = 225)

    • Sixty-seven percent of recruiting offices are not changing their staffing levels, although 10 percent have laid off staff and 25 percent have instituted a hiring freeze.
    • Forty-six percent of offices have not seen changes in their budget. Meanwhile, 16 percent have seen their budget decrease by more than 10 percent and 30 percent are still undecided.
    • Twenty percent have implemented spending freezes.
    • Although the sample size is small, 57 percent indicate their spending freeze is indefinite, with 19 percent reporting the freeze will last one to three months.
    • Recruiting offices report using several methods to increase their virtual recruiting activities. When comparing the activities, recruiters are opting for live, interactive avenues as opposed to recorded methods.
    • Thirty-nine percent of recruiting offices plan to maintain their standard recruiting schedule, while 37 percent are uncertain and waiting to see how the situation unfolds.
    • Twenty-six percent are still betting on 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, we have been seeing an uptick of respondents that are beginning to bet on an entirely virtual 2020-21 academic year or at least a virtual fall 2020.
    • Seventeen percent of recruiting offices are planning to make their list of target schools more geographically compact. Another 42 percent are still undecided on how they will change their list of target schools. (For a discussion on school selection, take part in Meet Up With Shawn, June 1: School Selection.)

    Colleges (n = 393)

    • Fifty-five percent of career centers report no change in staffing levels, with 36 percent indicating they have implemented a hiring freeze.
    • Twenty-seven percent of career centers report no change in their budget; however, 14 percent have seen their budgets decrease by more than 10 percent, and 51 percent are still undecided.
    • Half of career centers have implemented spending freezes.
    • Sixty-nine percent of career centers indicate the spending freeze is indefinite, while 19 percent report it will last one to three months.
    • Career centers are engaging students in various ways, with a surprising 76 percent making phone calls to reach students, while 52 percent are using live Q&A sessions on social media.
    • Sixty-two percent of career centers are still undecided on changes to their fall career fairs, though 23 percent are planning on moving their fairs to the virtual space while keeping them on schedule.
    • Twenty-seven percent of career centers are planning for a hybrid fall 2020 and an in-person spring 2021. Another, 53 percent of career centers have begun their planning, but remain undecided on their approach to the 2020-21 academic year.
    • Sixty-three percent of institutions are still undecided on changes to their calendar for the 2020-21 academic year, while 35 percent say there are no changes planned.

    For the latest information about the impact of coronavirus on our field—including more detailed results of the quick polls NACE is conducting and the ways colleges and employers are responding to the pandemic—see NACE’s Coronavirus Updates page