COVID-19 outbreak has impacted every societal and economical aspect of India. Businesses and the student community along with various other communities are among the most affected communities that took the brunt of this pandemic. COVID-19 has also impacted the internship season. Many companies had to either cancel their summer internship programmes or postpone them. However, a lot of other companies chose to adapt to the situation and turned their summer internships into virtual internship programmes.
To help the students get over the uncertainty regarding internships and help them navigate their internship situation, we have compiled a list of intern hiring trends that have emerged during COVID-19. Students, their teachers, and their parents could exploit these to find the best of internship opportunities.
Employers are hiring 3 times more work-from-home interns
As a result of the nation going into COVID-19 lockdown, most of the companies started functioning remotely and shifted their operations online. Hiring and onboarding processes have also been turned into virtual activities. Instead of cancelling the internship requirements, a lot of companies decided to hire and mentor interns virtually. The first case of COVID-19 emerged in India on 30th January 2020. Since then, the number of work-from-home internship requirements by employers has increased by 3 times.
This trend shows that even if the students couldn’t pursue the summer internships as planned, a lot of opportunities to intern virtually have emerged over the period of the last four months. The students need to simply update their resumes and internship applications as per the virtual internship’s requirements and pursue the internship from the safety of their homes.
Intern hiring scenario before and after COVID-19 outbreak
Before COVID-19 pandemic happened, 35% of the employers hired in-office interns only, 39% hired virtual interns, and 26% hired a mix of both in-office and virtual interns as per their intern requirements. These numbers have drastically changed over the past four months.
Now, 63% of employers across India are hiring virtual interns, only 22% of employers are hiring in-office interns, and the rest 15% are hiring a mix of both in-office and virtual interns.
Another important point to note is that out of the employers who are hiring in-office interns, 67% of them are doing their hiring process online and are providing work-from-home until the COVID-19 situation improves.
Employers look for these skills while hiring virtual interns
Above we talked about how students can update their resumes and internship applications in order to find the best work-from-home opportunity. Updating one’s resume and application basically means to customise it by adding relevant skills and previous experience. For instance, a student can highlight a previous remote internship experience in her resume.
Another thing they could do is highlight their skills which would help them in working virtually. To understand which are the most desirable skills in a work-from-home intern, we conducted a survey with the employers and found out that communication skills, time management skills, and high ownership are respectively the top three skills that employers seek in a virtual intern. Employers also look for creativity, tech-savviness, and agility while hiring work-from-home interns.
What kind of stipend can you expect?
The students pursuing work-from-home internships can expect an average stipend of INR 4,500 per month. The stipend could be more and less based on the duration, responsibilities, and working hours of the internship. The highest stipend recorded in these four months was INR 40,000 per month.
What to expect in hiring trends post-COVID-19?
The whole experience of adapting to the concept of working from home has been full of learnings. While many organisations were familiar with the concept of remote working and transitioned to this new scenario smoothly, many others faced various challenges during this transition. The major challenges faced by companies were that the employees weren’t familiar with the concept of remote working, some of the employees were not tech-savvy enough for a smooth transition, and due infeasibility of certain job profiles.
In our survey when we asked the employers about how they would hire interns in post-COVID India, 54% of them said that they would prefer hiring a mix of both virtual and in-office interns. On the other hand, 29% of employers said they’ll resume the same hiring practices as before. However, they will implement new work-from-home policies.
What do the educational institutions say?
To understand the internship hiring scenario further, we also spoke with the training and placement officers of our partner colleges. Here are some of their statements —
Dr. Anil Kumar Agrawal, Professor in-charge, training and placement cell at IIT BHU said,
We are not expecting any downward change in terms of the number of placements. In fact, new companies have already approached us and started recruitment. Even the recruiters are coming back with more placement opportunities and we are expecting to view an increase in e-marketing placements.
Dr. Prashanth Vooka, the faculty in-charge of internships at IIT Tirupati, said,
From the past 2 years, 50% percent of the companies have virtually conducted the placement process at IIT Tirupati. So our students are already prepared to face their interviews online. Additionally, all the classes for the past two months have been conducted online, so students are familiar to use online tools. We are also planning to conduct virtual mock interview sessions to train our students effectively. We might see more number of opportunities in product development, AI, and ML that cater to healthcare. There might be a lot of inter-disciplinary opportunities for students hence we are planning to tap those as well.
We might expect challenges in placing students in the service sector, hospitality, etc. We are expecting a major change in the existing job market. Hence we need to understand the change and quickly instill new skill sets to your students for them to be able to face the new requirements.
Santosh Kumar R, training and placement officer at IIT Palakkad said,
Last year, 60% of our campus hiring happened through virtual/digital mode therefore, we are not expecting any challenges in accommodating the 100% digital shift of the placement process.We haven’t started the campus placement process for this season yet. Owing to the pandemic, the number of companies hiring freshers will reduce and it is going to be a challenge for us to place all the students especially in the core sectors.