Job offers

North Texas college graduates consider alternatives as job offers, internships disappear

Maha Razi, a senior at Southern Methodist University, received word in an email that her summer internship at Seacrest Studios has been pushed back to the fall.

For the journalism major, her internship at the broadcast arm of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation that helps pediatric patients recover was going to be a career milestone before she graduates in the fall. Now she hopes COVID-19 won’t further disrupt her plans by her winter graduation.

“I just don’t know what I should do right now because it’s so uncertain that when I think about applying to other places I don’t know what they’re going to do,” he said. she stated. “I feel like when things get back to normal, or when they start offering jobs, I don’t know where I’m going to stand.”

His predicament is playing out across the United States as the nearly 4 million students soon to receive degrees enter an uncertain job market that only months ago seemed eager to receive them. The coronavirus that has crippled most of the national economy has also forced companies to withdraw offers or delay hiring and internships.

According to a survey of 341 companies by a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, about 60% of companies with pre-pandemic job openings plan to meet those commitments.

But the outbreak has also forced nearly 4 in 10 companies to freeze hiring, according to a survey of 254 companies by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. This survey found that other companies were pushing back start dates instead of stopping hiring.

“Businesses face a lot of unknowns right now,” said senior vice president Andrew Challenger. “A lot of people will say they hire one day and the next day those plans are gone. Offering themselves as a solution could work very well right now.”

A few large Dallas-Fort Worth businesses are moving forward with pre-pandemic plans.

One of them is Dallas-based AT&T, which is welcoming more than 1,000 new interns and employees this summer. About 20% of them are in Texas.

“We are planning a virtual onboarding process and internship experience, which will include webcasts, online mentoring and training at AT&T University,” spokesman Jim Greer said.

Fidelity Investments is also in hiring mode, seeking to recruit 2,000 employees nationwide and about 300 in North Texas. The pandemic is pushing many people to seek financial advice.

“Given the current environment, we are offering an expedited virtual hiring process along with video interviews, remote onboarding with learning and training, flexible hours and remote working, helping to keep candidates safe and employees,” spokeswoman Janelle said. O’Haugherty.

The website, which aggregates statewide job postings, displays more than 480,000 job postings. But it also lists nearly 2.3 million active resumes on file, suggesting a competitive environment for students entering the job market.

A sign in the lobby of Uber's Deep Ellum office on January 27, 2020 in Dallas.

This is what Aidan Artho, senior at the University of Arkansas, discovers.

The mechanical engineering major attended a STEM job fair in March ahead of college transitioning online and saw a few job leads cool off after initial positive feedback. He’s optimistic, but he also knows he’ll be without an income when his work on campus ends this month.

His plan is to return home to Plano and continue his job search. He started hunting at the start of the semester in hopes of landing in North Texas. Since then, he has expanded his job search across the United States on websites such as Handshake, Indeed, and Glassdoor.

“I applied for 100 to 150 jobs,” he said. “It’s a bit stressful.”

The story has been updated to say Fidelity Investments is hiring 300 people in North Texas, not 400.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas will reopen on Friday, but many businesses told the Dallas Regional Chamber they weren't ready to bring their employees back to the office just yet.
Doctors look at a chest CT scan image at a hospital in Xiaogan, China.