Graduate job confidence slides as labour market shrinks

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Fewer graduates in 2020 are confident of working in their dream industry than they were in 2019.

According to graduate job site Milkround, 83% of graduates expressed this sentiment last year compared to just 62% in 2020.

Attitudes about universities have changed too. In 2019, 15% of graduates said their university could have done more to prepare them for the workplace, yet in 2020 this has risen to 25%.

The global labour market has become unstable due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the most recent findings from the Institute of Student Employers’ (ISE) COVID-19: Global impacts on graduate recruitment report, the market for graduate jobs in England is expected to shrink by between one and 14% each year from 2020-2021.

Although government response to the pandemic has differed from country to country, a similar percentage of shrinkage is expected across Australia, Finland, New Zealand and the United States.

“While graduates often escape the worst impacts of recessions, the size and health of the graduate labour market is tied up with the wider economy,” said an ISE statement.

“The magnitude of the current crisis means that it is impacting on workers of all skill levels and is likely to be particularly difficult for those entering the labour market for the first time and those working in the sectors which are feeling the worst effects.”

Though Milkround’s findings suggest graduate confidence is waning, an optimistic 71% of respondents said the pandemic has not impacted their decision on which sector they will go into, and the NHS tops the list of respondent’s most desirable companies to work for.

Georgina Brazier, graduate jobs expert at Milkround said that the decisiveness where areas of work are concerned demonstrates a continued resilience in the graduate population.

She added: “Over the next few months, it’s essential that employers really understand what it is the next generation of workers are looking for as they enter the workplace, and work out how they can support recent graduates in realising their dreams despite the current circumstances.”

Milkround’s Candidate Compass Report is based on a survey of 2,838 student and graduate candidates, conducted between 14th – 29th April 2020.

Further reading:

Government launches 'Office for Talent' to attract global academic expertise

Employers need government support to hire young people, report reveals

COVID-19’s impact on graduate hiring strategy

Recruiters say chancellor’s plan for jobs overlooks other critical groups

Points-based immigration update leaves more questions unanswered

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