Intern Hiring Trends During COVID-19

A survey was conducted by Internshala, an internship training platform.

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. The dynamic changes caused by COVID-19 have rendered us with the only option of adapting accordingly. Students are out of schools and colleges and are adapting to virtual learning. Similarly, businesses have adapted to shifting their operations to virtual working environments and are functioning remotely.  

COVID-19 has also impacted the internship season. Summer months of April-July are traditionally called the internship season wherein the highest number of students pursue summer internships and employers hire the highest number of interns as compared to the rest of the year. As a side effect of COVID-19, 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. 

The coronavirus pandemic gave birth to the uncertainty around internships for thousands of students across India. Many of these lost their summer internship offers while others had plans to find internships during the summer vacation.  

To help these students get over this uncertainty 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 suspect? 

The students pursuing work-from-home internships can expect an average stipend of Rs 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 Rs 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.  

Around The World

Our Publications