The Impact of COVID-19 on the Job Market for Finance Students

The impact of COVID-19 on the US economy is being compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s. At its peak, in 1933, the Great Depression saw a US unemployment rate of 24.9%; roughly 15 million Americans.

By the third week of April 2020 (six weeks after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization), there were 26.5 million new unemployment claims. Added to the 7.1 million unemployed in mid-March that took the unemployment rate to over 20%, a figure likely to continue increasing as layoffs continue and competition for vacancies grows. 

Companies nationwide are laying off employees and instituting hiring freezes. So, what do you do if you’re one of the almost 1.3 million college students expected to graduate this year, or have a 2020 summer internship planned?

The good news is that the finance industry does not seem to be as severely impacted as others such as travel and tourism, leisure and food services.


Companies are still hiring

In the midst of an economic downturn, companies like Amazon, Citi, Accenture, Fidelity Investments, Booz Allen, and Wells Fargo are still hiring. Check out who's hiring right now

Handshake has a list of 500 companies actively hiring students. As of September 29, there were over 125 companies with offices across the US hiring within the categories of Accounting / Commercial Banking & Credit / Investment/Portfolio Management and Investment Banking.

Companies include: AllianceBernstein, Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley. The Handshake list is updated monthly, so check it regularly. 

Additionally, some companies including Associated Banc-Corp, TransUnion, and Chime are seeing growth and are hiring specifically to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other options to consider:

-    Stay in school. If this is a feasible option, consider continuing your studies in graduate school. Attaining your Masters may put you in good place for a higher paying role once you do enter the job market. Financial aid and scholarships are still available for many Masters programs. Also, check out this article on What to Know About Getting an MBA During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

-    Certifications. If staying in school isn’t an option, continue adding to your resume while job hunting by gaining relevant certifications that will be attractive to employers. For a comprehensive list of finance certifications click here.



Several finance companies have advised that they will proceed with 2020 internships with some modifications. If you have a 2020 internship already lined up, you should already have heard from the recruiter.

Citigroup – the summer 2020 internship program has been moved back and will begin July 6 for five weeks. All interns will be paid for the full term. Citi has also pledged to offer full-time positions to hundreds of its interns.

Goldman Sachs - the start of its program has provisionally been moved to July 6. The bank will still pay interns the amount they would have received for the full duration of the program.

Morgan Stanley – the majority of its summer internships will now be virtual, with the possibility of some in-person components, depending on the individual program

JP Morgan - the summer Internship start date has been moved back to July 6, and may be virtual. Interns will still be paid for full 9-to-10-week internship

Nasdaq – the summer program will be fully virtual

If you have an internship that may be at risk of being cancelled, ask if there is the possibility to work on projects remotely so that you can still gain experience.

2021 Internships – applications are starting to open. FMA offers exclusive lists for its members: Internships, Analyst and MBA positions.



To hear from FMA alumni who were joining the job market during the 2008 recession click here for the blog post or click here for the full video.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.