Students struggle to find jobs as employers reduce opportunities

It is harder than ever for PNW students to get an internship or job.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer places are hiring. Nearly 74% of employers revoked or limited offers to recent college graduates, according to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. 

“Companies are cutting down on the number of people they’re hiring so less students are getting hired,” said Joelynn Stephen, assistant director of Career Management. “For example, we had students who had internships secured for them but then, due to COVID-19, the company stopped the internship program and the student lost that opportunity.”

Tyler Klukken, senior business finance and accounting major, had an internship revoked due to the pandemic.

“I had one for a bank called William Blair that was supposed to be 10 weeks,” Klukken said. “It started off with being shortened down to seven weeks and eventually I was told it’s not going to happen because no one was in the office. It was unfortunate because it was a dream internship.” 

Earlier this year, Klukken had an internship cut short at a tax firm in Schererville. 

“We ended a month early at CliftonLarsonAllen because the offices were shutting down,” he said. “I got good experience the first couple months, but I wish I was there the full time.”

The situation is putting a major strain on students looking for a job.

“I’ve been constantly looking on LinkedIn and Handshake and making sure my resume is up to date,” said Libby Houston, senior business finance major. “Although there are still a bunch of opportunities out there, there are fewer places hiring due to COVID-19.”

Though companies have been cutting down on new employees, a conflicting trend is emerging. Remote workers are more popular than ever. 

“I would say there actually has been a pretty big increase in that,” Stephen said. “I have noticed as I search through jobs and internships on Handshake, a lot of them are saying remote workers are allowed.”

NIPSCO is one example of a company that has transitioned to using more remote workers to continue their operations.

“We still have great internship programs offered [and] continue to do yearly internships,” said Rick Calinski, Purdue Calumet alumni and NIPSCO’s director of public affairs. “Moving forward we’ve changed more work to be done virtually.”

Though there are fewer jobs, Stephen encourages students to keep looking on websites such as Handshake or Indeed.

“Keep your head up and stay confident in yourself,” she tells students. “Searching for a job or internship is a part time job in itself. The key is to keep trying even if you are getting declined because you will find something if you keep trying hard to do so.”