Most recent or upcoming college graduates have had to reexamine their career goals because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Joblist survey.
Out of the 1,006 people surveyed, more than half said they will seek further education until the job market starts to level out, and 56.5% said they have drastically altered their post-graduation plans for 2020 and 2021.
The poll questioned both people in their fourth year of study and people who graduated in 2020, with 48.7% of those surveyed being women; 49.2% men, and 2.1% identifying as nonbinary. The average age of the respondents was 24.
The poll also found:
- Nearly 1 in 4 respondents changed the industry they intended to work in due to the pandemic.
- 60.7% of respondents preferred a job they are very passionate about, despite it having a lower salary.
The competitive pool is more wide open now after the pandemic, as experienced candidates are also looking for work, leaving students competing against more people for fewer spots.
As a result, 55.6% of the respondents said they are pessimistic about the outlook as they enter the job market, while 26% are optimistic.
However, the more prepared the graduates were for finding a job or knowing about available opportunities impacted how much hope they had for their future, but still, even with 81.5% looking for entry-level positions, three out of four graduates said they were having a hard time even finding that kind of job.
Meanwhile, the graduates' expectations did not always match up to industry reality. Most of them said they believe the medical and healthcare industries have the most positions to offer, but healthcare experts say the industry is actually seeing slower growth because of the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The respondents also had a higher expectation of the technology industry, which turned out to be correct because the industry grew during the pandemic while more people had to work and conduct many activities like shopping remotely.
The perceptions, though, caused students to change their career plans, with 9.7% abandoning career goals for jobs in finance and insurance, but with those switching to the medical field climbing to 11.8%.
Most graduates, though, said they did not have a hard time getting an interview, with 62% saying they had gotten to speak with someone.
However, the pandemic added to the growth of virtual interviewing. Either way, interviews did not always attract an offer, as only 26% said they were able to get an offer of full-time employment.
They found the best chances for getting an offer included having relevant work experience and good references, but said they regret they did not network enough.
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