Rose Watson, Careers & Employability Service Manager
There’s really no denying that these last few months have been the strangest and most unsettling in most of our living memories. But now we are all emerging from lock down and starting to slowly look at the ‘real world’ again, and many of us are wondering what we will find, what has changed. As you have completed your course you may be wondering about where you will be living, how you will keep in touch with friends, and of course, are there going to be any jobs.
This blog is to help you understand the job situation for graduates and to make the most of your current situation.
Depending on your course or the job sector you are in, some of you may find that your skills are currently much in demand at this time. However for others, it may seem that jobs and recruitment is moving very slowly, or that opportunities in your chosen field have disappeared for now. If the latter is the case, remember that the situation is changing rapidly, and sectors will return at different stages
We all react differently, and some of you may be raring to go whereas others would prefer to take a bit of time out and consider their options when the job situation has settled a little. However you feel right now, remember that Careers and Employability at the University of Worcester can continue to support you for as long as you need us!
HOW MIGHT THE PANDEMIC AND LOCKDOWN AFFECT GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT?
Charlie Ball, Head of Higher Education Intelligence at Prospects gives us some useful insights into the graduate labour market in his regular blogs. He is finding a picture is emerging about the UK graduate labour market, although some aspects still seem unclear:
- Although the labour market is being seriously affected, graduates are faring better than non-graduates.
- There is still hiring going on and new vacancies being created. Numbers of jobs being advertised is certainly down but recruitment hasn’t stopped altogether.
- Smaller businesses are struggling more, whilst many larger businesses seem to be adapting well.
- Regions are being affected differently, and it seems London and other cities are faring better than most regions.
- The worst-affected sectors include hospitality, travel and entertainment. Health and Social care is holding up well and other services such as Finance and parts of IT look to be coping better as well.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR ME AND MY FUTURE EMPLOYABILITY?
Flexibility is key: Due to the lack of opportunities in some sectors you may need be adaptable in your thinking, and consider gaining experience in another sector. Even if you had your heart on sports business management, if the leisure industry continues to be curtailed, consider getting management experience in another sector, with the view to move across to sports at a later stage. All work experience, in whatever sector or at whatever level can provide valuable insight and skills.
Learn to deal with uncertainty: Some of us thrive on uncertainty and change, whereas others really struggle with is. Be kind to yourself, and recognise that you may be dealing with the loss of your old life, and earlier plans. For some of us this may be similar to a grieving process. See ‘So what can I do now? – Covid-19, careers and uncertainty and university students’ to read about dealing with career uncertainty.
Put aside your crystal ball: If the pandemic has shown us one thing, it is we can’t always predict what will happen. Often we move forward not by careful planning, but by seizing hold of opportunities that suddenly or unexpectedly arise. Chaos Theory and Planned Happenstance suggest events can be out of our control but how you react to them is important. Qualities such as flexibility, optimism, curiosity and persistence can help you make the most of the situation.
Harness your patience: The lock down helped many of us to slow down, appreciate what is around us, and limit our plans for the time being; these qualities may have to continue for an extended period yet. Employers are continuing to hire – but the recruitment processes will take longer. Many are going to wait until Autumn before they make further hiring decisions. You may have to slow down your plans at this stage, and in the meantime use your time productively.
Get yourself skilled up: If you are in work but wanting to move on, make the most of learning and development opportunities available to you to extend your skills. Or this may be a good time to think about pursuing a masters degree, either full or part time. Alternatively have a look at the many free online learning opportunities to develop your digital or employability skills. See this firstpoint blog for more ideas about developing your skills.
Seize the day: This recent period has exposed gaps and revealed opportunities for those who are willing to take them. Those who get ahead are those who are agile and can recognise and react quickly to opportunities. Over the past months we have seen opportunities arise in online learning, digital technologies, home exercise, and health and wellbeing, amongst others. Other gaps in the market will become clear over the next year as previously established industries struggle and others emerge in their place. Make sure you are well placed to contribute to this!
Embrace online recruitment: Like it or loathe it, it is likely that now employers have taken the plunge into the world of online interviews and assessment centres, they are here to stay. Here are some tips on online recruitment.
In the end, remember that wherever we are in the stages of lock down and recovery, Careers and Employability can continue to support you as one of our graduates for as long as you need us. See