COVID-19 Impact Statement for Job Applicants

As a response to concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on hiring, MPOWIR participants composed a letter to distribute broadly to employers. MPOWIR fully supports this initiative, and encourages wide distribution. Below is the text of the resulting letter, You will also find pdf and docx versions of the letter and sample prompts at the bottom of the page.

We at MPOWIR propose a new initiative to include a COVID-19 impact statement as part of the hiring process across academic and research institutions through 2025. This single incremental change can improve your institution’s ability to identify and hire top applicants based on work effectiveness and career potential while also addressing inequalities faced by marginalized groups in science. MPOWIR is a community-based program that aims to reduce the barriers to career development for all junior scientists in the field of physical oceanography, but this initiative is relevant across disciplines. Information and letter templates to assist you with launching this change can be found at

In order to maintain a more equitable and well-informed hiring process, we recommend the inclusion of a COVID-19 statement for all graduate, research, and faculty job applications during the next 5 years. Although the impact of COVID-19 has been felt materially on a global scale, several groups have been disproportionately impacted, including Black, Indigenous and other people of color, women, parents, individuals from low-income backgrounds and/or people whose visa status has been impacted. This group includes a large portion of talented early career scientists. Failing to account for differences in productivity during the review of applications would bias the assessment of anyone under consideration and further compound the disparity felt by these groups.

To address the pandemic’s impact on current employees, many institutions have already initiated pauses in the tenure-clock, or the inclusion of COVID statements for promotions and tenure proceedings. This underscores the pressing need for policies that address the uneven burdens on academic employees. It is critical to extend the same level of consideration to new hires, as early career disruptions are more likely to have significant long-term consequences (Akkermans et al., 2020). Such a policy ensures that the potential of early career individuals or those transferring to a new institution are judged within the broader context of current socioeconomic challenges and hardships.

We thank you for your consideration for this initiative.


Emily Lemagie, Ph.D.
Marion Alberty, Ph.D.
Michelle Fogarty, Ph.D. 

LuAnne Thompson, Ph.D.
Claudia Hinrichs, Ph.D.
Kate Hewett

Supported by the MPOWIR Steering Committee and the following individuals:

  • Colleen Mouw
  • Sarah Clem
  • Alma Carolina Castillo Trujillo
  • John Largier
  • Patrick Heimbach
  • Emmanuel Boss
  • Stephanie Waterman
  • Kara Lavender Law
  • Veronica Tamsitt, Ph.D.
  • Julia Fiedler
  • Karan Venayagamoorthy
  • Mercedes Pozo Buil, Ph.D.
  • Sarah Purkey
  • Mona Behl
  • Sarah Giddings
  • Erin Hackett, Ph.D.
  • Melanie Fewings
  • Sylvia Cole
  • Erika McPhee-Shaw
  • Amy Bower

We invite the MPOWIR community to sign on to this initiative below. Your name will be added to the list above.

[contact-form-7 id=”5171″ title=”COVID-19 Letter sign on”]



Akkermans, Jos, Julia Richardson, and Maria L. Kraimer. 2020. “The Covid-19 Crisis as a Career Shock: Implications for Careers and Vocational Behavior.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 119:103434.

Kantamneni, Neeta. 2020. “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Marginalized Populations in the United States: A Research Agenda.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 119:103439.

Sorokowski, P., M. Kowal, and A. Sorokowska. 2020. “Dread in Academia-How COVID-19 Affects Science and Scientists.”

Viglione, Giuliana. 2020. “Are Women Publishing Less during the Pandemic? Here’s What the Data Say.” Nature 581(7809):365–66.