With many students worrying that the graduate job market is being badly affected by the shrinking economy, this post looks at how severe the impact of COVID-19 on graduate recruitment is likely to be.
With many graduate job offers being retracted and start dates being postponed, the future for graduates entering the labour market appears very uncertain. However, the impact of Covid-19 may not be as bad as it seems – many companies are still hiring, and reports show that they are not looking to reduce graduate recruitment by a lot.
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Changes to the Graduate Job Market
With lockdown restrictions easing and the government furlough scheme coming to an end, there are obviously many questions surrounding the effect of increasing unemployment levels and the shrinking economy on the graduate job market. To add to this, under 25s are an age group particularly at risk for unemployment at the moment, which does not seem promising for newly graduated students and future graduates. However, recent reports investigating this topic have found that graduate recruitment will quickly bounce back, and that graduate jobs will still be widely available.
A study by the Institute of Student Employers (https://www.agcas.org.uk/Latest/ise-and-agcas-report-what-is-the-impact-of-the-crisis-on-student-recruitment-and-development) found that their respondents were only planning to recruit 12% less graduates, a promising statistic for students. It is also the case that many of the key sectors in graduate employment, such as IT, business services and health industries, have not been affected as badly by the UK economic decline, resulting in smaller changes to graduate recruitment in these areas. In particular, larger companies will be keen to maintain their input of graduates, given that they have not been so badly affected by COVID-19, with these companies instead highlighting the positive outcomes of the crisis, including an increase in business flexibility and remote working.
This positive outcome does not only apply to STEM graduates, with a report published by the British Academy (https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/publications/skills-qualified-future-quantifying-demand-arts-humanities-social-science/) finding that arts graduates will be just as likely as STEM graduates to remain employed. They found that graduates “studying fine arts, history and archaeology, philosophy and theology, geography, sociology and anthropology” will be essential to fill gaps in the workforce.
This information suggests that the graduate job market will suffer as a result of COVID-19, however, this may not be to the full extent that was initially predicted, a promising conclusion for both students and graduates.
Changes to the Graduate Recruitment Process
Regardless of how many graduate jobs are available after lockdown, one change in graduate recruitment is certain: the recruitment process will experience a shift towards remote operation. Interviews and assessment centres are likely to be conducted online instead of in person, a change that will impact preparation for graduate job applications. Additionally, careers fairs and other on campus opportunities for learning about graduate jobs are likely to take place online, so make sure you look out for these!
Keep following our blog posts to learn more about great companies for graduates and tips on graduate job applications, including how to make a good impression in a video interview.