Covid Graduates

If you, like I, graduated from university in 2020 you may have recently had or will be soon having that ceremony you truly deserve! Finally, it feels official! We are officially graduates and have been able to have that photo in a cap and gown. Although we finished almost two years ago, we did finish at the start of the pandemic when companies and organisations were not in the position to take on new starters so there were very limited entry-level roles across most industries. This was quite a difficult time however we are approaching an exciting time here at KHM more roles than ever are exciting opportunities for graduates.

I had my graduation two weeks ago and only found my role here a week later! My role is perfect as I graduated in Photography, and I’ve found a role that enables me to stay creative whilst gaining valuable experience and skills in social media and administration. During university, I was not sure where my degree would take me, but I just knew I needed to start somewhere. Post pandemic I’ve realised being open-minded can be so valuable because you must experiment with jobs in order to learn what you want and what’s best for you. I am a strong believer in everything happens for a reason!

How has the pandemic affected the UK jobs market?

Back in August 2020, it was revealed that coronavirus lockdown measures had forced the UK into recession - its biggest slump on record. Employment also fell by the largest amount since the 2009 financial crisis.

While there's now cause for optimism in 2022, due to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the latest unemployment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there are still hard times ahead to get back to previous economic levels.

According to the government's spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, UK unemployment may reach 2.2 million by the end of 2021 - affecting 6.5% of the population. It was also revealed how just under a seventh (14.3%) of those unemployed were aged 16-24 - an increase of 52,000 people compared to January to March 2020.

What's the outlook for graduate jobs?

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has produced the Quarterly Recruitment Outlook for the first three months of 2021, with the jobs website noting that 40% of businesses were now looking to recruit, compared with the pre-pandemic 2019 average of 55%. Firms within the construction sector were among the most likely to take on new staff over the next three months while retail and wholesaling were the least likely.
The annual Student Development Survey by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) has found that the UK's leading graduate employers have either stabilised or increased their recruitment in 2021.

The survey found that nearly half (48%) of recruiters are employing the same number of graduates as the previous year, while over a third (36%) are actually hiring more. In terms of work experience, over half (56%) of employers are taking on the same number of interns as last year, with a quarter (24%) hiring more.

Despite this more positive outlook, Stephen Isherwood, chief executive at the ISE, did offer a word of caution. 'Employers are optimistic that we're reaching the end of the pandemic, but not that the economic crisis is over,' he explained. 'However, early indicators show that the market is on the upturn and there will be more employment opportunities for young people this year. While the jobs market remains tough, students need to keep working on their skills and engaging with employers.'

Therefore, while it's expected that more graduates than ever will be battling it out for each available position with the top firms, it's important to do all you can to present yourself in the best light.

Graduate Coach found that 90% of graduates don't know how to write CVs, interview well, demonstrate the right employability skills, or how to find jobs that best suit their skills. So, sharpening up in these areas will certainly give you an advantage over other candidates.

Are you stuck in your pandemic lull of job hunting? Do not give up! If you’re open to or looking for roles in the commercial or industrial industries (or similar) please do not hesitate to get in touch with your CV to hand!