Employer Survey: The Impact COVID-19 has on Fall 2020 Internships

During both March and April, Indiana INTERNnet surveyed employers to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their summer 2020 internships. You may view March’s executive summary here and April’s here. With fall internship season fast approaching, Indiana INTERNnet wanted to gauge employers’ feelings toward hiring fall 2020 interns. Also, now that summer internship season is concluding, we wanted to understand Hoosier employers’ experiences with hiring summer 2020 interns.

The survey was distributed to all employers registered on IndianaINTERN.net. In addition, it was shared with employer networks by Indiana colleges/universities and economic development organizations. A total of 121 responses were received.

Of those surveyed, 68% (82 employers) indicated that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they typically hired fall interns. Five percent (6 employers) indicated that they were unsure if their company typically hired interns.

Forty-one percent (34 employers) of the 82 employers that typically hire fall interns prior to COVID-19 said they typically hire one intern. Thirty-five percent (29 employers) indicated they hire 2-3 interns.

With their current knowledge of events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, 76% (67 employers) who either typically hire fall interns or were unsure, said they still plan on hiring fall interns. 9% (8 employers) said they are unsure. Of that 76% who still plan on hiring, 35 employers said they still plan on hiring interns with no changes to plans. Thirty-two employers said they plan on hiring fall 2020 interns, but with changes to plans.

Those changes are (employers were able to select any/all changes):

  • Changing in-house internships to virtually hosted – 16 employers
  • Lowering intern hours per week – 10 employers
  • Changing internship start/end date – 8 employers
  • Keeping summer interns on through the fall – 7 employers
  • Hiring fewer interns – 7 employers
  • Other – 5 employers

Fifteen percent (13 employers) who typically hire fall interns or were unsure said they now no longer plan on hiring fall 2020 interns with their current knowledge of COVID-19. When asked why they no long plan on hosting fall interns, their responses included (employer were able to select all that applies):

  • Other (uncertainty around school schedules, potential for second wave of COVID) – 9 employers
  • Economic uncertainty – 8 employers
  • Company current does not have need for fall interns – 7 employers
  • Lack of staff to supervise fall interns – 3 employers
  • Never hired fall interns – 1 employer

There were 13 employers that originally planned on hiring fall 2020 interns but are now no longer hiring interns due to COVID-19. Of those 13 employers, 31% (4 employers) are manufacturing organizations. “Company no longer has need for fall interns” was the number one reason for no longer hosting interns with seven employers selecting it.

To better understand how employers managed summer internships, Indiana INTERNnet included some specific questions. Fifty percent (61 employers) of the 121 respondents said they hired summer 2020 interns. Fifty-two percent of those 61 employers with summer interns (32 employers) said their first summer interns began in May. Twenty-three percent (14 employers) said they began in June.

Fifty-two percent (32 employers) of those with summer 2020 internships said their interns worked in person. Twenty-eight percent (17 employers) said their summer 2020 interns worked virtually.

With many Indiana higher education institutions moving to a longer winter break, Indiana INTERNnet gauged employers’ initial interest in hosting an intern for a micro-internship over this period of time. Thirty-seven percent (45 employers) said they would not be interested in that type of internship and 34% (41 employers) said they were unsure.

Indiana INTERNnet received responses from employers in a variety of industries. The most common represented were:

  • Nonprofit – other – 15%
  • Nonprofit – health and human services – 12%
  • Healthcare – provider – 10%

The most common Indiana counties represented were:

  • Marion – 24%
  • Allen – 15%
  • Porter – 10%
  • Lake – 7%
  • Hamilton – 7%

Forty percent of responses (48 employers) came from employers with between 1 and 24 employees. Twenty-six percent of responses (31 employers) came from employers with 250-plus employees.

Indiana INTERNnet is here to support your company’s internship needs or assist you in your internship search. If you would like to be contacted by someone on the Indiana INTERNnet team, please reach out.

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