NACE Logo NACE Center Logo
National Association of Colleges and Employers NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition®
mobile menu
  • Quick Poll Results Show Shift in Plans for Summer Internships

    April 06, 2020 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    Summer interns have a virtual meeting.

    TAGS: best practices, internships, operations, trends and predictions, nace insights, coronavirus

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    While employers engaged in college recruiting had taken a cautious approach to their programs during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, there are now indications of significant shifts, according to results of NACE’s Coronavirus Quick Polls.

    NACE is conducting polls separately among its members in university relations and recruiting (URR) and those in college career services to inform its members and the public at large about changes taking place surrounding higher education and the employer community that recruits new college graduates.

    In particular, summer internships for college students are undergoing major changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. NACE has seen a steady push toward moving internships online—rather than holding them at employers’ sites during the summer, as is typical—or limiting them in length and size.

    On March 13, 90 percent of responding employers expected to maintain their internship programs without change; by the last week in March, that number was down to 74 percent. At the start of April, results were even more dramatic: Just 35 percent reported moving forward with on-site internships as planned.

    Instead, 29 percent of responding employers report they will conduct their internship programs virtually—up from 2.4 percent that reported such plans in the last week in March. In addition, 35 percent will reduce the length of their internship programs by delaying the start date. Fifteen percent said they would cut back on the number of interns taking part in the internship program, either virtually or on site.

    Another potential shift that bears watching is employers’ plans to revoke offers to full-time recruits and interns. At the start of April, 64 percent of employers reported that they are not revoking offers to full-time recruits and interns. However, another 25 percent are not revoking offers yet, but are considering it.

    While it is early in the planning cycle for the next academic year, 67 percent of employers expect to recruit from the Class of 2021 at the same level as they are for the Class of 2020. At this point, 37 percent of career services offices report they will still hold career fairs in the fall. Twenty-one percent will hold both on-campus and virtual fairs, and 5 percent will only hold virtual fairs.

    Similarly, 38 percent of career centers report that they plan to facilitate employer recruiting interviews in the fall both on campus and virtually, while another 23 percent will use virtual methods exclusively.

    NACE’s second monthly Coronavirus Quick Polls launched on April 1 and will run through the end of April. Participants can update their responses through the end of the poll. In addition to internships, the poll queries employers about their hiring of 2020 college graduates and their expectations for recruiting Class of 2021 graduates. Poll results are updated each Friday. Additional results from NACE’s polls are available on the NACE website.

    NACE Coronavirus Quick Polls: Employers (results from April 3)

    • Revoking offers to full-time recruits and interns (n=135)
      • 64% are not revoking offers to full-time recruits and interns
      • Another 25% are not revoking offers yet, but are considering it
    • Changes to summer 2020 internship programs (n=130; select all that apply)
      • 35% are making no changes
      • 35% are reducing length of internship by delaying start date
      • 29% are moving interns to virtual program
      • 20% are moving events online such as end of program presentations
      • 15% are reducing the number of interns
    • Expectations for recruiting Class of 2021 (n=134)
      • 67% are planning to recruit at the same level as for the Class of 2020
      • 13% are decreasing the number of recruits compared to Class of 2020
      • 6% are increasing the number of recruits compared to Class of 2020
    • Expectations for attending career fairs in the fall (n=135)
      • 62% plan to attend on-campus and virtually
      • 17% plan to attend on-campus only
      • 5% plan to attend only virtually
    • Expectations for increasing virtual recruiting (n=135)
      • 42% Yes
      • 53% not sure yet, still deciding

    NACE Coronavirus Quick Polls: Colleges (results from April 3)

    • Current interaction method (n=312)
      • 99% of offices are interacting virtually
      • 1% are not interacting with students
    • Services being provided virtually (n=311)
      • 98% are offering resume review and job search advice
      • 92% are offering general counseling/coaching/advising
      • 53% are offering career assessment services
    • Holding career fairs in the fall (n=310)
      • 37% still holding career fairs in fall
      • 5% only holding virtual fairs
      • 21% holding both on-campus and virtually
    • Facilitation of employer recruiting interviews (n=311)
      • 38% will use both on-campus and virtual methods
      • 23% will use virtual methods exclusively
      • 7% will facilitate interviews exclusively on-campus
    • Institution offers financial support if paid internship is revoked (n=305)
      • 65% do not offer financial support
    • Effect on course credit if intern is moved to a virtual program (n=310)
      • 39% will give credit as originally planned
      • 26% will have the relevant academic department re-evaluate
      • 21% are not sure

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