April 06, 2021 | By Kevin Gray
TAGS: trends and predictions, surveys, nace insights, career development
Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
The COVID-19 pandemic has had marked impacts on career services operations, including on budgets and staffing, according to NACE’s 2020-21 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report.
Survey results illustrate the hit that career center budgets took during the pandemic. Overall, more than one-third of career centers (33.6%) reported cuts to their personnel budgets—a sharp contrast from the nearly 36% that reported increases in their personnel budgets last year. (See Figure 1.)
In addition, more than half (56.7%) of respondents to the current survey reported decreases in their non-personnel budgets.
Overall, staffing levels fell from 2019-20 to 2020-21. However, they improved with respect to student-to-staff ratios, especially compared to the most recent years.
The median total office FTE (professional and administrative support positions) decreased from 7.5 during the 2019-20 academic year to 6.3 in 2020-21, and the mean decreased from 10.9 to 9.8. The mean for total professional staff per office also decreased from 6.6 to 6.1, but the median remained the same. (See Figure 2.)
Despite these decreases, the median total graduate assistant/intern staff increased by 0.5. The total other FTE staff increased by 1.0 since last year. The averages of these two staff categories also increased since last year.
NACE collected data for its 2020-21 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report from September 28, 2020, to December 11, 2020. The responses were submitted in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and reflect many of the changes career services offices made to their operations. For its 2020-21 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report, NACE surveyed its member institutions, resulting in 538 respondents, which translates to a 27.4% response rate. The 2020-21 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report is available in MyNACE.
Figure 1: Budget changes from 2019-20 to 2020-21
Figure 2: FTE staffing levels across position type, overall
Percent of staff time spent student-facing
Median number of students per professional staff member
Median number of FTE professional staff
Median number of FTE overall staff
Percent of career centers reporting cuts to personnel budget
Percent of career centers reporting cuts to non-personnel budget
Percent of career centers using third-party provider to collect student outcomes
2020-21 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report