Survey: 28 Percent of College Graduates Reconsider Career Path Due to COVID-19

June 16, 2020 Updated: June 18, 2020

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—According to a recent survey, some recent graduates may change their majors due to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Remote Internships, a San Francisco-based company that helps college students and young professionals find internships, conducted a survey to find out how COVID-19 would change graduation plans.

From May 20 to June 1, it surveyed 2,104 internship candidates ages 18-24 worldwide. About 85 percent were in the United States. CareerUp, the parent company of Remote Internships, partnered with Google Forms to conduct the survey.

It found that 28 percent of those surveyed had considered changing careers due to COVID-19, while 72 percent had not.

Over 50 percent of those majoring in event management said they were considering changing career paths. Others majoring in NGOs, HR and talent management, international business, advertising, marketing, and design were also likely to change.

The study did not ask followup questions, but from the data they can infer how the pandemic may be impacting the graduates’ decisions.

According to Caleb Kauffman, CEO of Remote Internships and CareerUp, the decisions of students in their third or fourth year of college have an immediate impact on their job prospects.

“I think particularly for event management … that’s one of the industries and sectors that’s been most hard hit by the pandemic,” Kauffman told The Epoch Times. “Candidates have a lot of concern about how soon it will return to normal operation, and I’m sure that they have significant concerns about being able to obtain a job in that industry after they graduate.”

Those majoring in NGOs have similar concerns.

“My guess with that is that the NGO career path is generally a low-paid career path. So I think that some candidates may be more conscious of financial constraints and looking for more lucrative fields to go into,” he said.

The survey also found that about 40 percent believe that universities will return to on-campus teaching later this year, 32 percent think it will resume next year, and 21 percent think it will be when there’s a vaccine.

On the other hand, the virus does not appear to be impacting plans for graduation very much. Over 60 percent said there is no impact, 35 percent are not sure, and a small percentage do not plan to complete their degree.

Epoch Times Photo
Veterinary resident Alexandra Goe (L) and veterinarian technician intern Ben Calvert (R) examine a sick and malnourished sea lion pup at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., on March 18, 2015. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Impact on Internships

COVID-19 had a visible impact on internships. About 38 percent said their internship was cancelled and they have not found a new one, and 14 percent had their internship transitioned to a remote or online basis.

A small percentage found a new internship after their first one was cancelled. There were 38 percent who did not plan to do an internship.

Many found internships important. About 46 percent said internships have become more valuable, 33 percent said there’s no change, and 20 percent said they have become less valuable.

Kauffman said he did not find it surprising, because apprenticeships have always been a go-to form of education in the past.

“We’re seeing a return to the forms of education that have always worked within society,” said Kauffman. “The internship, I believe, is the oldest form of education that exists, and it really is just a new branding for apprenticeship.”

When asked how they would feel if their first job was remote, about 24 percent said they would prefer it, 38 percent were neutral, and 38 percent felt like they would be missing out.

When asked if they would take a gap year next year, 73 percent said no, 23 percent said maybe, and a small percentage said yes.

A majority of those who would take a gap year said they would find a job or an internship. Others would take an online course, take courses at another university, or travel.