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You Asked, They Answered: COVID-19 Hiring Trends

You asked, they answered! The CCO reached out to our employer partners with some of the most frequently asked questions from undergraduate and graduate students at Purdue. Read on to learn what our employer partners are saying!

Today, we share information from several of our employer partners, all representing Fortune 500 companies, across a range of industries: consumer goods, aerospace, defense, power, technology, electronics, food processing and manufacturing.

How has COVID19 affected your hiring? Internship/co-op hiring? Full-time hiring?

Companies are open about the fact that the global pandemic has affected their early career talent programs across all industries, though in different ways.

Some were fortunate in that their 2020 hiring (summer internships) had been completed by early March so they shifted their focus to providing the best onboarding experience for their interns, and successfully converting longer (10 week) programs to shorter (6 week) programs. In some cases, when work and training couldn’t be converted to remote, companies made a variety of decisions. For example, one pushed back internship start dates by a year (from Summer 2020 to Summer 2021) or delayed some fulltime start dates to late Summer or early Fall, so that they had more time to convert to remote work and training. Not one of our Employer Partners reported rescinding offers.

What is your realistic  prediction for hiring trends in Fall 2020?   

The responses to this question varied quite significantly. Overall, GE said that hiring is predicted to be “flat and more likely down” but will vary by industry and company, of course.

Industries like pharma, tech, and some manufacturing (especially food & beverage, consumer items) will be less affected than some others. Our partners from these industries report that they are still focused on hiring the best talent from top universities this Fall and are not anticipating significant changes to their pre-pandemic recruitment plans. The only significant change is: all recruitment will be virtual!

Other industry partners pointed out that recruitment will vary from position to position. For example, one company stated that while their hiring trends will sustain a 30% loss for the Fall, their internship programs (as opposed to hiring for fulltime positions) will be the least affected because most divisions within their portfolio have successfully migrated to remote internships.

Some are anticipating that hiring numbers (even within a company) will fluctuate through the Fall and the Spring, just given the nature of the pandemic and how quickly things are changing.

Even companies that will not be in a position to hire candidates to start in 2021 are very keen on participating in career events (fairs, info-sessions, networking etc.). They want to stay connected with students at Purdue and maintain the strength of their brand among emerging professionals and future employees.

And finally, regardless of their ability to hire, everyone is expecting to interact with students virtually this coming Fall. Some companies, especially those in the tech sector, are already familiar with virtual recruiting and remote work. While others have focused their energies on determining what recruitment or campus engagement will look like this Fall and what remote internships or FT positions will look like moving ahead. Textron reported, “The goal is to provide candidates with a personal, engaging experience when interacting with [us].”


The CCO would like to remind you of the resources we have available for you!

Questions: email or call 765-494-3981.

The Center for Career Opportunities would like to thank our 21stCentury Partners for taking the time to answer our questions, especially Eli Lilly, General Electric, Oracle, PepsiCo, and Textron. To see a list of our 21stCentury Partners click here.

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