PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) - A majority of business leaders are cutting back on recruiting and hiring college students as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy, according to a new BestColleges.com survey.

Typically, college recruiting is an important tool for businesses to snag top talent. Recruiting is often done on campuses or during career fairs, but most of those events aren't happening right now. BestColleges.com found more than 60% of business leaders who typically recruit college students say they have either slowed or stopped college recruiting and hiring because of the pandemic.

Dr. Melissa Venable, an education advisor for BestColleges.com, says the drop in recruiting will impact both employers and job seekers.

"It's going to be different -- not necessarily worse but different," she said. "We did see in our survey business leaders are starting to rely more on virtual interviews. We didn't see as many moving toward virtual career fairs and information sessions, but I think we're going that as the next semester rolls out."

Coronavirus is also changing what employers think of virtual classes. According to the survey, 74% of business leaders who recruit college students say the quality of online education is improving because of the pandemic.

"I think this is encouraging," Venable said. "Online education versus on-campus education – that's been a conversation for many years. A and now that almost every college student will have some online education in their college program, we want to make sure employers are seeing the value in that experience as well as their on-campus classes."

Younger business leaders tend to view online education more favorably.

"They might already have their own experience with online education. They might already have good experiences with people they've hired from online backgrounds, so we think this is something that's going to continue to improve as more employers have experience with all kinds of students with all kinds of educational backgrounds," Venable said.

Though the pandemic has put a damper on a majority of businesses' college recruiting and hiring efforts, about 18% of businesses say they have not changed their hiring practices.

 

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