How the Pandemic Changed Graduates’ Employability and Career Plans

graduates tossing their caps

Today’s graduates face extreme challenges that no other generation has faced before: finding a job in the middle of a pandemic. They’re looking for financial stability at a time when the economy plummeted and stepping outside puts you at risk of acquiring a lethal infection.

Fortunately, graduates remain resilient and optimistic about the future. Although faced with uncertainty, the workforce’s newest members are incredibly flexible.

If you’re a graduate about to look for a job, here are new things that you and your peers may expect when entering the labor market.

The Pandemic’s Effect on Different Industries

While the outbreak caused an overall negative economic impact, some industries took it harder than others. This means that graduates may have to rethink the careers they planned when they entered college.

The Tourism Sector

Tourism is one of the hardest-hit industries. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, tourism employs one in ten people globally and provides a source of income to millions more. When the pandemic hit, tourism grounded to a halt and saw massive job losses. Some estimates total job loss at 101 million.

Before the pandemic, the global tourism industry was expected to generate USD771,940 million. With quarantines and border controls, however, the sector only made USD447,410 million in revenue.

What Applicants Should Keep in Mind

Should you remove tourism from your list? Not really. Despite current circumstances, authorities are optimistic that, once the world reopens, people will hunger for travel and new sites, enabling the much-needed recovery.

The Retail Industry

The retail sector stands alongside tourism as one of the hardest-hit sectors. Because non-essential stores had to be closed down, the industry saw massive dips in overall sales — even if they opened online shopping platforms.

The sector recorded slow growth — much lower compared to growth in previous years. Much of this increase is attributed to the food and grocery stores. In contrast, apparel stores expected a 0.5% growth but experienced a fall of 26.7%.

Man at an interview

What Applicants Should Keep in Mind

As with the tourism industry, the retail industry will recover once the world reopens. So don’t cross it out of your list just yet.

However, retail will not return to its pre-pandemic landscape. Quarantine protocols have created long-term shifts in consumer behavior, including:

  • More e-commerce stores. Even if physical stores open, people will choose the convenience of online shopping and delivery. This is why AWS development and mobile app development soared during the pandemic. Online shopping is safer and much more convenient.
  • More “everything” stores. The retailers that have experienced growth have one thing in common: they are one-stop shops. People prefer the convenience of buying everything they need from one place.

This means that jobs related to e-commerce stores and one-stop shops may be more abundant.

The Food and Beverage Industry

Mobile-first tech dominated the food and beverage industry during the pandemic. Big chains offered exclusive app offers, such as discounts, promos, and convenient payment methods. Smaller restaurants also launched their apps or partnered with delivery platforms.

What Applicants Should Keep in Mind

Employers are looking for people ready for innovation, as the food and beverage industry continues to improve the dining experience.

Tips to Get Hired

Here are some suggestions to help you land a job or find a sustainable career amid a pandemic.

  • Consider short-term changes in your career plans. Some industries, like tourism, might take time before it reaches full recovery. So in the meantime, consider applying for short-term work outside your area of expertise. These may not take you to your dream job, but they will offer a source of income while you’re waiting for industries to spring back to full health.
  • Expect a slower than normal hiring process. Don’t lose hope when you haven’t received an email response for a week. It can be difficult for a hiring manager to gather feedback from different people and evaluate your application.
  • Expect remote hiring and work. Even if cities are reopening, many desk-based job roles retain the remote work setup. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that at least 25% of the workforce will still work from their home offices by the end of 2021. Be ready for the world of video conferencing.
  • Explore beyond physical borders. Because of the work-from-home setup, geographical borders don’t pose much of a problem. Graduates can apply for jobs despite far physical locations. Even if the company is headquartered two cities away, the remote work model will welcome graduates.

Even though young workers face difficulties, their flexibility and digital savvy will see them through. Employers are confident that graduates will succeed in the workforce, just like they have powered through the challenges of online learning.

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