Most graduates are looking forward to their first job after university, but the pandemic and the economic collapse might make it harder for many of them to secure a job in the upcoming years.
The first semester of the academic year 2020/21 is nearly over and future graduates are now normally starting to think about their future and their first job.
In April this year the Institute for Fiscal studies states that it is “a bad time to graduate.”
They add, “we are now in the midst of a huge economic downturn. The economy could shrink by between a quarter and a third over the second quarter of this year. This is affecting millions of people who are being furloughed, losing incomes, or losing their jobs entirely.”
A surpising fact is that, according to the institute, younger generations are more affected than the elderly and it is called a “worrying time for students.”
As stated by the Guardian,at least 30% of the graduates lost their job offer and “20% of Britain’s biggest employers have suspended their graduate recruitment selection processes and stopped making graduate job offers.”
The salary of what students earn will also be affected by the crisis in the following years. One of those students is Eleonora Fontaneto. The 26-year-old student from Italy is about finish her masters degree at the University of Westminster. She tells Voice of London: “I am very afraid that I won´t find a job. Everything is online and it will be very hard to find something.”
Although, she could work for her father´s company, she doesn’t want to: “I want to be independent”, she says.
But not every student is fearing the future. Ben Mueller is studying Film at the “Universitaet der Kuenste” in Berlin, Germany and will graduate in the upcoming summer.
He tells Voice of London: “I am not fearing the future. The film industry might start to boom again next year. Many films and other productions couldn’t be realised and maybe when everything is hopefully relaxed again, they will catch up.”
According to the website Office for Students, the government wants to help students and graduates. The government has launched several programs during lockdown to help and support students in these upcoming years. The program provides financial support for employers according to salaries, insurance and pension.
Abigail Swain from University of Westminster´s careers and employability service explains how the university is supporting their graduates. The University is offering different programs as well as help with creating a good CV.
Furthermore, students can discuss career plans or get help with interview techniques. “Covid-19 has undoubtedly caused major disruption to the graduate labour market and the world of work,” – Swain says.
“There are still graduate jobs and work experience vacancies out there to be seized.”
Future graduates will need to take a more creative and agile approach to securing these opportunities, because according to Swain, not all opportunities are advertised.
Some students might want to find an alternative to a job. For example, applying for a postgraduate degree and continue to study.
Another opportunity is finding an unpaid internship to gain some experience or going abroad like geography student Johanna Faerber from Germany did. Johanna is currently in her third year and is planning to travel to Australia for work.
“With Corona I doubt that I will get a job. I came up with this work and travel idea. I always wanted to go to Australia, and I will have an adventure and time-off before starting the proper adult life.” – she explains. Many graduates do this, as it is their last opportunity for an adventure before starting adult life.
Although the future for students doesn’t seem bright at the moment, government and universities are trying to support them as much as they can and hope still remains.
Like Irish poet Oscar Wilde said: “everything is going to be fine in the end, and if it’s not fine it’s not the end.”
Words by: Lara Bonczek | Subbing: Monika Laimaite and Gabriela Jimenez