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The internship series

What does the future of work hold? Nearly 3,000 Goldman Sachs interns weigh in

Summer interns share the impact they believe virtual work will have on their generation’s future.

2020 has been such a wild ride that nearly every day this year prompted the question, "What next?" Indeed, when COVID-19 led to campus and business closures, state-enforced shelter in place, and many canceled plans, college students felt a heavy impact. As many said goodbye to friends and trekked back to childhood bedrooms with no return to normalcy in sight, one might have expected a dreary experience and turnout for summer interns. Thankfully, this was far from true. We’ve heard from many 2020 interns that, even remotely, their summers were full of valuable professional learning experiences that have sparked their careers. Nearly 3,000 Goldman Sachs summer analysts and associates were just as optimistic!

Each year, the leading global financial services firm surveys its summer intern class to learn more about their experiences and predictions for the future. 2020 was no exception, despite 71% of summer interns joining from their homes instead of New York City, London, São Paulo, and other Goldman Sachs branches around the world. Thanks in part to Goldman Sachs’s Handshake Premium partnership, this year’s intern class consisted of over 2,700 summer analysts and 129 summer associates, who represented 54 majors from nearly 500 universities. The poll asked interns to weigh in on fun topics, like their social media platforms of choice—the vast majority favor Instagram and only 23% use TikTok—as well as more serious topics, like the impact they believe virtual work will have on their generation’s future.

Remote work isn’t going anywhere

A majority 63% of interns surveyed believe that COVID-19 will lead to increased remote work options and lasting professional flexibility. This positive sentiment toward a virtual future is undoubtedly due to the positive experience described in many of the reviews left by interns who worked remotely: “Goldman Sachs did a wonderful job giving the interns the best experience possible without being in office. The projects I was given to work on really gave me a sense of what I would be doing if I were a full-time employee.”

Despite great experiences during their virtual summer at Goldman Sachs, 75% of the respondents fear that remote work and school will negatively impact their relationships; a concern echoed in a recent Handshake survey about mental health. Perhaps that’s why video calls are so important: 64% of the intern class prefers connecting face-to-face through video, instead of talking on the phone.

COVID-19 has made priorities crystal clear

More than half of Goldman Sachs’s interns say that they’re spending less and saving more in the wake of COVID-19, prioritizing their finances more effectively than they might have without the economic uncertainty of a pandemic. But money isn’t everything!

When asked about their top concerns while looking for their next role, salary fell behind the employer’s core mission. In a year when organizations were defined by their stances on important topics like racial equity, it’s no surprise that college students want to work for companies that contribute to an important cause. Here are their top reported concerns for future jobs, in order:

  1. Advancement opportunities
  2. Nature of day-to-day work
  3. Colleagues
  4. Employer having an important purpose
  5. Salary

Curious about other findings, like the proportion of “cat people” versus “dog people” among Goldman Sachs’ intern class? You can explore the 2020 Goldman Sachs intern survey in full! And don’t forget to follow Goldman Sachs on Handshake to get notified when they post new jobs, attend virtual career fairs at your school, and more.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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