Today’s graduates, whether in high school, university, or college settings, are entering the workforce at a time when nothing is certain and everything, including when and where they will work, is in flux. Monster recently surveyed recent and future graduates to better understand their feelings about entering the 2021 labor market, and it revealed some interesting results that employers, HR professionals, and hiring managers should be aware of.
Desperate for Jobs
Not surprisingly, graduates are desperate to find jobs right now and are somewhat uncertain about their prospects for doing so. The approach they’re taking is quite different than it was in the past, according to the research.
- 45% of those who graduated in spring 2020 are still in the job market.
- Three out of four recent and soon-to-be graduates have accepted jobs out of desperation—both because they need the money (45%) and to pay off college debt (20%).
- Some are being forced to start at the bottom, but 71% feel their degree means they’re overqualified for entry-level jobs; 78% think if they take an entry-level job, it should last for no more than a year.
Today’s graduates are finding they need to remain flexible and open to new ways of working: 77% plan to work in gig or freelance roles, and 23% say they will do so even after landing a traditional job.
Worried About Lack of Experience
For some, the pandemic has caused gaps in their résumés that some worry employers will view unfavorably. More than 2 in 3 respondents, or 68%, feel this is the case.
Trying New Things
Perhaps due to the uncertain market and health and safety concerns, graduates are willing to approach the job market differently today. “68% of new and impending grads would be willing to conduct an entire job search by text message,” according to the research.
Worried About the Effect of the Pandemic on Their Careers
In an uncertain environment, graduates aren’t quite sure what to expect from their first jobs or how the choices they make now may impact their careers overall. And they’re ready to make sacrifices:
- 69% say they expect to be offered lower salaries due to COVID-19.
- 72% say they would be willing to relocate for a job.
- 85% say they’re worried about what their job experiences or benefits will be like when starting work during the pandemic.
The job market is in flux, with many employers still eagerly seeking top talent despite the pandemic. Understanding, and taking steps to address, the concerns of recent graduates as they enter the labor force can help employers connect more effectively with this new pool of talent.