Michele Trusolino, CEO and Co-Founder of Debut Careers comments:
“Firstly, don’t panic. Employers are still working out their plans and they will be wanting to work with the students to help them through the assessment process. Employers will also be making sure that they over communicate changes to the application process.
You may well have a little more time on your hands now, so using this productively can give you a real edge.
Use this time to think outside the box when it comes to working out what companies you want to work for. For example if you did finance, every industry requires people in finance, or if you did computer science, don’t just limit yourself to tech. Research other sectors as there are some really exciting jobs out there.
We mentioned that online interviews will form a big part of companies hiring process for the foreseeable future. Online interviews require a slightly different approach than a face to face. As with anything practice makes perfect. If you can take the time to have a run through with friends it will take away some of the nerves.
Keep applying for roles. Normality will resume and when it does if you have made applications you will be ahead of the curve. For summer placements, it would be worth investing a little more time to apply to a few extra and give yourself the best chance.
Remember to stay optimistic.”
When is a good time for students to start thinking about their careers?
Now! The earlier you start thinking about careers the better the end result will be. Students that get placements or internships in their first or second year are much more likely to get offered a role by employers come graduation. If you have a few professional experiences under your belt you will be in a fantastic position to secure a great role. Also, thinking about your career early on will help you identify the skills and competencies you need to start building while at uni.
Do they need to be applying for work experience and learning about ways into a job from the start of year 1?
What would you say to someone going into their third year of university without a clue what they want to do for a living, or how to get there?
You are not alone! Our research found that more than half of students are not really sure what they want to do for a career. The best advice is to start speaking to as many people as possible, apply for internships or placements and think outside the box. Many industries have a real problem with students whose skills they desperately need just not considering them as they are not the obvious choice. If you can combine a passion and your skills you will enjoy your role much more.
In your opinion, are students any more or less anxious / conscious of the need to find a good job than they were four or five years ago?
The last 3-5 months have rocked the world, students included. In the initial week or so of lockdown, we saw applications plummet and app use substantially down. Since then it has picked up. I think students are very aware that their options are likely to be more limited and there will be more competition for jobs.
How might the lasting effects of the coronavirus crisis impact on the way in which students go about planning their careers right now? (For example, do you think it will make companies less likely to hire graduates? Are students more likely to want to take a gap year, or look for a more stable job than they once might have?)
We have seen a handful of employers cut their graduate intake this year entirely, but most are just planning to drop the number of graduates they are taking on. In 2008 and the proceeding years, we saw that the graduates who didn’t place the year before would retry to get positions in the following year, so if anything for the next two or three years competition will be increased. Taking a gap year is always an option, especially if used to build some transferable skills.
How is the job market changing more generally? Will this year’s graduates be looking for jobs for life, or will they be slaves to the gig economy?
This is the big question. The COVID-19 pandemic will have changed working practice significantly. How many of those changes will stick it is something that remains to be seen. Homeworking, flexibility and remote teams all seem to be accepted as normal now, but might we see push back against this and a move to people needing ‘irl’ work, especially earlier in their careers? Most graduates are looking for employers where they can invest themselves. The top tier employers often invest a lot more in training than smaller companies, so this inevitably makes them stay longer.
Given the current crisis, market trends and fears about an economic crash, which industries are most likely to be thriving in three years’ time, in your view?
Often it is not industries that thrive, but companies who redefine how that industry is serviced. Every industry is now a ‘tech industry’ and they need the highly sought after skills to push the boundaries.