How has COVID-19 affected the job market for graduates

Aug 27, 2020

COVID-19 has impacted many areas of our lives but the employment landscape is one of the most uncertain.

Students graduating in the midst of the pandemic are unsure what their options are now that many employers are adapting their recruitment plans. 

Businesses still value skilled young people as much as ever before, but the way in which graduates approach the job market has now changed.

Here are some of the main ways that COVID-19 has impacted recruitment and how graduates can adapt to remain employable. 

Accept a slow down in the market

Students are beginning to realise that they will be leaving their studies in the middle of a global recession and this means that many businesses will be scaling back their recruitment processes.

Industries that were once a safe bet for graduates thanks to graduate schemes, such as law, accounting and banking, will now form part of a slower job market. 

This means that graduates need to reflect carefully on the skills and experience they’ve gained through their studies.

When applying for jobs, applicants should continue to seek out opportunities in their chosen field as they would have before, but also be willing to investigate graduate-level jobs in other disciplines too. 

Be willing to work flexibly

So many people have had to make the switch to working remotely in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and this looks likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.

Once associated with more creative careers, industries like finance, accounting and consulting are now taking on remote workers. In order to be successful in acquiring a new role, graduates need to be able to work flexibly. 

“The route into accounting and finance is the same as ever for graduates”, says Jon Baggot, Director at Numeric Accounting, “however, graduates and trainees may need to prepare themselves to work flexibly for the time being.

As a company, we are still able to provide helpful guidance for trainees while working from home through staying in regular contact and organising team training sessions through video calls”. 

Keep the lines of communication open

Graduates should approach their job hunting in the same thorough way as they would have pre-COVID-19, but they should also look for new opportunities to speak to businesses such as webinars.

In order to continue connecting with graduates and skilled applicants, many businesses are switching to digital methods of communication such as online chats or video calls. 

These opportunities are a great way for graduates to connect with potential employers and stay up to date on the latest job openings.

Even if companies cancel or defer openings, by staying in touch, graduates can stay in the running for future vacancies that may crop up. 

Upskill in remote-friendly skills

video call from home

In today’s employment landscape, having a degree is not enough – now, more than ever, companies are seeking applicants that have a wide range of skills beyond just subject knowledge.

Use the downtime that COVID-19 is providing us all with to upskill and make use of online learning to improve even further, from communication tips to digital skills. These will help you boost your CV to stand out among other applicants, as well as helping you stay productive during this time. 

Another way of boosting your skills to help market yourself to employers is to seek out remote or virtual work experience. While internships may be hard to come by at the moment, virtual work experience can help graduates complete an internship from their home using their laptop, while also assisting businesses with their projects.

Companies appreciate people who are willing to think outside of the box and take initiative, so this is a great addition to your CV for future roles. 

Final thoughts

Graduates will be approaching the start of their careers in a different way to how they may have imagined, but there are still plenty of ways to make the most of the situation and remain positive.

From upskilling and working remotely to looking for opportunities in other industries to gain work experience, graduates need to be adaptable to the new way of working.

Employers will still be looking to recruit in the future, once the uncertainty of COVID-19 has dissipated. Making the best use of this time will ensure that graduates are ready to apply for jobs once the number of vacancies start to increase. 

If you need any help with finding a graduate job, do not hesitate to contact us for help. We offer interview training and one-to-one career coaching.

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