The last couple of months our lives have changed drastically and we are now adjusting to a new reality. Before March the majority of recent graduates felt confident they could secure at least one graduate offer or an internship in the professional field of their choice. After the lockdown, graduate recruitment has changed. A survey by Prospectus UK in May showed that 28% of graduates have had their job offer cancelled or the starting date has been postponed.
Anxiety and worry about the future troubles the majority of recent graduates who suddenly found themselves in a difficult position. Graduates are increasingly concerned about the high competition in their field given the now limited opportunities in their sector, the difficulty to secure a graduate job and the impact the pandemic will have on salaries. Around 60% of students who had secured an offer before the lockdown are worried that the current state of the market will have an impact on their positions.
Unfortunately, Internships and placements for students, on the other hand, have been more affected than graduate schemes. Despite the disappointing numbers and the general feeling of uncertainty about the future, recent statistics from ICE are here to give us hope for the future. Yes, the recruitment process has slowed down but it hasn’t stopped. On average there will be a 23% cut in graduate recruitment this year. According to the results from a recent survey that ICE conducted in 21 countries including the UK, graduate positions don’t seem to be highly affected by the pandemic. However, there will be a decrease in the number of graduates entering the workforce. We expect this to continue for next year but at a slower pace.
COVID-19 had affected the global economy. Some markets are doing better than others but still, we have a long way before the recruitment fully recovers and returns to its pre-pandemic rate. To be precise, based on the same survey by ICE, 15 out of 21 countries expect the labour market to continue shrinking until 2021. Canada, South Africa and New Zealand are expecting a stabilisation to their economy by next year. Only 3 out of 21 (Belgium, Poland and UAE) are expecting growth to their economies.
The same study bears some more hopeful results; all respondents from the 21 countries will continue to hire graduates but at a limited scale and under different conditions. Companies adjusted very fast to the demands of the new reality and moved their recruitment process online. In respect to social distancing and with the thought of keeping everyone safe, companies utilise all the benefits of the virtual world. They organise virtual interviews, online assessment centres and transfer their onboarding process online. Working practices have changed but firms will continue looking for graduates. They will still be making sure that their intake is equipped with the skills needed for their business and drive it forward. Recently, Rob Smith who leads Microsoft’s strategy for higher education across the Asia-Pacific region in one of his interviews mentioned that companies will always seek candidates who can fit in their organisation. He adds that “talent will always be in demand and businesses will continue looking out for it”.
While it is important to be in the know if what is happening in the job market, the most important questions that you should ask yourself is – are you ready for the new work reality? With graduate offers falling away and online interviews and assessment centres becoming the new way of recruitment you need to make you sure you are ready to beat the competition and stand out from the rest of the applicants. While the conditions in the job market may have changed, the rule remains the same: to win at job searching, you need to have a clear strategy and make sure that every step you take on the way is right. Make sure to check the blogs that come out twice a week and follow us on social media for the tips that will get you hired.