KPMG and PwC deserve massive praise: all 2020 summer interns receiving offers for 2021 entry-level roles

Posted May 06, 2020 by

The COVID-19 crisis hit American employers, students, and recent graduates at just about the worst possible time. The bulk of students seeking internships and recent graduates seeking entry-level roles had already applied to jobs and many had interviewed and even been hired. The partial shutdown of organizations nationwide resulted in many employers adapting and even rescinding offers of employment. But there are some bright spots, and those organizations should be praised.

Two of the largest employers of students and recent graduates are the accounting and consulting firms, KPMG and PwC. Year after year, they recruit many of the top students from the top schools. Both organizations understand that their lifeblood is talent and that even a crisis like this pandemic must not be allowed to destroy their recruiting efforts. A phrase that I heard years ago and have used many, many times since is that one should use strategic measures to combat strategic problems and tactical measures to combat tactical problems. In other words, if the problem you’re facing is short-term like this pandemic will hopefully prove to be, then don’t make massive, long-term changes to address the problem.

There is no doubt that KPMG, PwC, and virtually every other employer in the country are in the midst of a massive disruption. Some employers, I believe foolishly, responded by panicking and rescinding their offers of employment. In the short-term, that approach may have made sense as those interns and new grads wouldn’t become financial burdens to the employers. In the long-term, however, that approach will prove to be devastating. If you’re an employer who goes on campus or uses job search sites like College Recruiter next fall to try to hire students or recent grads, how are you going to respond when those candidates ask you what you did as compared to other employers when we were all in this crisis together? Your honest answer will be that you discarded this year’s candidates to further or at least protect your own interests. Candidates who you want to hire next year and for years after will know that your organization places little value in the well being of its employees, as evidenced by your discarding of them in response to this crisis that faces all of us.

But then there are organizations like KPMG and PwC who, over years, built the financial and moral ability to withstand even a crisis like we are in the midst of and who chose to do more than they needed to in order to be good citizens and, at the same time, protect their own long-term interests. They saw that those two things were not mutually exclusive and, in fact, closely linked. By protecting the interests of their candidates, those two organizations were also protecting the interests of their organizations.

This fall and for years to come, representatives of KPMG and PwC will be able to hold their heads up high when talking to candidates. They’ll be able to say that they were unable to safely have interns work for 12 or so weeks in their offices but, instead, adapted the program to offer two-week internship programs so that the interns would get a taste of what it would be like to work there permanently. Even more importantly, representatives of KPMG and PwC will be able to tell future candidates that all 2020 interns were offered entry-level jobs starting in 2021, which is just superb.

A well run internship program does not regard its interns as cheap or short-term sources of labor. Instead, a well-run internship program is all about recruitment. If the intern is not offered a job upon graduation, then that internship is a failure both for the student and the employer. KPMG and PwC typically extend offers of employment upon graduation to a large majority of their interns but, this year, they’re extending those offers to all of their interns. And, for that, they deserve our praise.

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Posted in Advice for Employers and Recruiters, Career Advice for Job Seekers, Industry News and Information, Salary, Scholarships and Finances | Tagged