Survey Results: Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic Effects on Summer 2020 Student Internships and Hiring

It’s around the time that many students and graduates would be preparing to enter the work force or begin their summer internships; but due the COVID-19 outbreak, this experience may look very different for students and employers.  

GradLeaders wanted to know the impact on student internships and the hiring process. We reached out to schools, students, and employers with a brief survey to ask about their experiences and plans. We had 187 students and 189 schools respond to a nine-question survey and 139 employers respond to a 12-question survey.  

Here is what we found: 

Working Remotely 

Many schools and companies were forced to convert to a virtual workplace or learning environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  • 99% of campuses are now working remotely and over half of them plan to stay virtual for summer classes as well.  
  • 98% of career development and experiential learning professions are now working remotely; nearly all of them are offering their services through virtual meetings and phone calls.
  • 95% of employers, recruiters, and talent acquisition professionals are now working remotely 

Virtual Career Fairs and Interviews 

Employers are now changing the ways they hire students. With travel restrictions and “shelter-in-place” orders, many events were forced to be canceled or converted to virtual meetings, including career fairs and interviews. Schools and employers were forced to make tough decisions on how to proceed with these vital events to the hiring process.  

  • 32% of employers attended Spring career fairs virtually, while 32% canceled plans to attend.  
  • 26% of schools hosted their Spring career fair virtually and 30% canceled events. 
  • 68% of employers planned to do Spring interviews virtually, while 16% canceled interviews.
  • 34% of schools hosted their Spring interviews virtually, while 29% canceled interviews. 

Virtual Internships and New Hires 

With all the uncertainty, many internships and new hire plans for the summer of 2020 are still undecided. Due to the health and safety issues posed by COVID-19, many of these opportunities have been postponed, canceled or moved online as well 

  • 36% of employers are delaying start dates for new hires. 
  • 19% of employers are starting new hires in a remote/virtual environment. 
  • 9% of employers are delaying start dates for summer 2020 interns. 
  • 18% of employers are starting summer 2020 interns in a remote/virtual environment. 
  • 17% of employers have canceled summer 2020 internships.  

Students, schools and employers have all felt the harsh impacts of this unprecedented event. Students are entering the workforce in one of the most difficult times – when internships and plans for new hire are being altered or canceled as unemployment rates skyrocket

The good news is that things are constantly changing and there are still opportunities available.  At you’ll find thousands of employers with active postings across the GradLeaders school network. These companies are not only seeking current students and recent grads for full-time roles, but many have internships, co-ops, projects and other experiential learning opportunities available as well. Data is refreshed hourly to only show opportunities not yet filled or expired.

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We understand the professional challenges you may be facing. If there is anything we can do to help your career center or company, please contact us. Whether it be for software, best practices, data, or industry connections, we are always here to help.   


Emily Mowry

Summer 2020 Intern studying Journalism, Marketing and Real Estate at Ohio University

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