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Do students feel that Covid-19 will impact their future careers?

We wanted to understand how students are currently feeling during these uncertain times, and whether they feel their future careers may be impacted. Here we share findings from our research and what employers can do to put their minds at ease and effectively continue to attract entry-level talent.

We have partnered with Dig-In to survey over 2,500 university students and over 100 graduates from 2019 to understand concerns amongst the younger generation as they look to enter the workplace.

Dig-In, the UK’s leading student sampling company, have been reaching out to students over this time, tracking their changing health status and behaviours, asking how they’ve been spending their time during quarantine, and also understanding students buying habits during this time. Our research with them looks specifically at how they are feeling about their career prospects during this challenging time.

Have students secured a graduate role before lockdown?

Our findings have revealed that three-quarters of recent graduates and current students feel that the ongoing situation around Covid-19 will heavily impact their future career prospects.

Earlier this year, before the Covid-19 outbreak, we had undertaken research which revealed 60% of Gen Z (aged 18-22) typically secure a graduate position before leaving university. However, of those graduating this summer, only one fifth (18%) currently have a job lined up. Even then, three-fifths (60%) of those are worried their position will be impacted by Covid-19, as several companies retract offers and put recruitment on hold.

Georgina Brazier, Jobs Expert at Milkround, comments:

Understandably, the situation around Covid-19 is having a knock-on effect for student and graduate’s confidence in the current jobs market. However, despite many businesses being forced to postpone current recruitment drives, the ISE has revealed only a quarter (27%) of companies will be recruiting less graduates this year,[1] showing there is still demand. Students should be reassured there are still various well-renowned companies looking for ambitious entry-level talent, to join their business and help deliver change. Most notably, the Education, Medical, Accounting, IT and Engineering, as well as the Public sector are amongst the industries still continuing to hire.

Covid-19 is affecting career confidence

Despite four in ten (40%) revealing their employer has been in touch to put them at ease, 60% are still concerned that current circumstances may impact their position. When it comes to breaking down exactly what is impacting confidence, graduates are worried about the following:

  • They won’t be able to secure a job before they graduate (52%),
  • There won’t be opportunities in the sector they want to enter (49%),
  • There will be more competition for jobs (43%) and salaries will be impacted (25%).

It’s great to see many employers keeping in contact with students, and we urge all employers to be fully transparent about the situation and offer as much support as possible.

Internship opportunities are vital but lacking

Not only have graduate jobs been impacted, but short-term work placements such as internships have also been affected and possibly reduced, as a direct impact of Covid-19.

Earlier this year, our research found two thirds (66%) of under 26’s wouldn’t have been able to secure their job without previous work experience, highlighting the importance of these opportunities for students and graduates when entering the world of work. However, the new research shows just 8% overall had secured an internship for this summer. Of those, a staggering 63% said current circumstances have impacted their position, including over a third being terminated completely (37%), moved online (17%) or shortened (17%). Although nearly a quarter (25%) of students are still searching for an internship currently, a staggering nine in ten (90%) believe Covid-19 have affected their search generally.

Georgina Brazier, Jobs Expert at Milkround, commented:

As we found previously, internships are increasingly necessary for many entry-level job requirements, therefore students should call on their existing professional connections to secure work opportunities and gain relevant experience. Whilst it is important employers are transparent with candidates, it is also vital applicants make the most of this extra time to develop their softer-skills by practicing virtual interviews techniques, such as presenting on camera or video.

“Many companies are having to pivot and adapt their plans when it comes to hiring, interview and onboarding processes currently, whether that be, delivering skill-based training or virtual projects online, partnering with universities or adopting mentorship programs. This is to ensure they are supporting their current employees and are working as effectively as possible to drive future recruitment. Milkround is here to support both employers and students and will continue to work closely with employers to promote open vacancies, ensuring students and graduates are aware of their current career options.

If you would like to find out more about our earlier research, looking into what success looks like for graduates then please click here.

If you would like to get in touch then please fill out our contact form here.

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