- Citigroup will continue its summer analyst internship program despite the impact of COVID-19, the company said in an April 14 blog post.
- The bank said in a letter to interns that it will delay their start dates to July 6, but the interns will still receive 10 weeks' pay during the delay. The company noted it is determining how it will deliver the program and said it is considering virtual delivery. Those interning for programs based in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo will receive a full-time offer from Citi upon graduation so long as they meet the program's minimum requirements, Citigroup said.
- "Amidst the shifting needs of our companies and our people, we cannot lose sight of the reality that these young people find themselves in – completing their spring semester away from school while social distancing," Citigroup said. "Companies large and small can take this important step of offering job security as a way to relieve the stress and anxiety for as many young people as possible."
In a matter of weeks, the U.S. job market has shifted at a pace that some have called unprecedented. More than 20 million nationwide have filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March, The Wall Street Journal reported. Accounts of unresponsive and overwhelmed state unemployment systems have accompanied these figures.
The pandemic's impact isn't limited to those with full-time, part-time or contingent work arrangements. Sources in recent weeks told HR Dive that summer internship programs have been impacted, too, with a number of organizations deciding to either cancel or delay and shorten planned programs. A poll of 1,000 college students by early career network Handshake found 30% of juniors and seniors surveyed said their internships offers had been rescinded.
Some organizations, however, have taken the same route as Citigroup. In recent years, interns have served as a key source of talent, and employers have opted in some cases to keep programs going during the pandemic for this reason. While it's not necessarily the view of every HR department that internship programs exist to bolster talent pools, interns at most organizations are increasingly taking charge of projects that can actually serve to kickstart their careers, sources previously told HR Dive.
Vendors and others in the space are responding to that demand by fleshing out virtual internship programs. Micro-internship provider Parker Dewey announced earlier this month it would move its programs online. Microsoft, which was due to host more than 4,000 students as interns this summer, announced it would instead shift to a virtual intern program.
Citigroup said its decision was made in part to provide job security to interns during the pandemic. The company also decided in March to suspend planned layoffs, Reuters reported, as did Morgan Stanley. Reducing uncertainty has become a talking point for organizations as employees report worsening mental and physical health in recent months, with others saying they may soon be unable to meet basic financial needs while under lockdown.