Students who graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 reported fewer job openings and less access to academic career centers than the previous class, according to a new survey released today by the ‘National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Senior graduates received an average of 0.83 job offers in 2021, against 0.93 for the 2020 class. And students visited their institution’s career center on average 1.19 times in 2020-2021, compared to 1.55 visits in 2019-2020, according to NACE. is probably due to the pandemic.
The pandemic has also deprived students of internship opportunities. NACE found that last year around 22% of employers revoked internships and 41% delayed their start dates, reducing the duration of many internships, which traditionally last from 10 to 12 weeks. To make up for lost internships, career centers at many institutions have developed new virtual programming to give students work experience.
This year’s survey was completed by more than 15,000 baccalaureate students – including more than 2,300 senior graduates – from February to May.
He saw a surge in virtual job recruiting, which offered historically marginalized populations – women, black students, Hispanics and first-generation – a better job search experience than traditional in-person recruiting, the report notes. NACE Executive Director Shawn VanDerziel said virtual recruiting can make hiring practices much fairer.
“The move to virtual recruiting marks a huge improvement in the job search experience,” said VanDerziel. “The way companies have had to rethink the way they hire has created more fairness in the recruiting and hiring process, and this leads us to believe that employers should consider using virtual recruiting as a tool. viable to develop a larger and more diverse pool of candidates. candidates. “
VanDerziel said marginalized students, including 71 percent of black students and 61 percent of Hispanic students, said in the survey that they learn more about employers virtually than in person; only 49 percent of their white peers said the same. Additionally, marginalized students reported better virtual interactions with employers or their representatives and gained a “more authentic view” of a workplace virtually than during face-to-face meetings, VanDerziel said.
Numerous studies have shown that white Americans still outnumber their black and Latino counterparts disproportionately when it comes to getting good jobs, regardless of their level of education. And because employers have switched to using virtual job fairs, virtual briefings and virtual one-on-one interviews to reach students during the pandemic, VanDerziel said it could help them diversify their career. pool of candidates and seek equity in their workforce.
“We know that employers are looking to diversify their workforce,” VanDerziel said. “And in order to diversify the workforce, they need to start with their entry-level positions. It’s the future of business and it’s the pipeline.
Another important finding from the survey, VanDerziel said, is that marginalized populations were less likely to have paid internships. The survey revealed that paid interns received an average of 1.12 job offers, compared to 0.85 offers for unpaid interns and 0.64 offers for students who did not complete an internship. This means that students who had completed paid internships received 30% more job offers than those who had not completed paid internships, and 75% more job offers than those who did not. ‘had never completed an internship.
VanDerziel noted that the disparity emphasizes the need to establish more equitable recruitment and hiring practices for interns, as internships often lead to full-time employment opportunities. He recommended that institutions work with different employers to set up paid internships for students.
“In order to ensure fairness, we need to increase the number of marginalized students who have access to paid internships and actually get them,” VanDerziel said.
The survey also asked students what they look for in a job or an employer. The most desirable trait was the ability to develop specific professional skills, VanDerziel said. Other important factors included job security, friendly coworkers, and a good insurance and benefits program. According to the report, senior graduates named a high starting salary as the eighth most important attribute of a job, with over 20% saying the salary would serve as a tie-breaker when choosing between two vacancies. competing.
A separate survey by Universum, an employer brand specialist, found that students preferred to work remotely, with 75% of students saying they would consider working remotely, including internships during the school year and jobs. full time after graduation. However, 56% of students said they feared being isolated from their colleagues and lacking social connections because of working remotely.
The Universum survey, conducted among more than 51,000 students from 310 U.S. institutions between October 2020 and March 2021, also found that 43% of students were concerned that even an employer who allows remote work could be biased towards workers. in person, and the same share was concerned that remote work would pay less.