April 13, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
Department of Business Intelligence & AnalyticsWebsite
Natalie Gerhart Ph.D.: We have clearly seen a big shift in the job market due to COVID-19. Workers went home quickly, which had a ripple effect across industries. While some workers are enjoying remote life, many are anxious to get back to a more social workplace. Working from home has benefits for the worker of multi-tasking and comfort, but also has drawbacks with work/life balance, distractions, and home office expenses (i.e. broadband, space, etc.). There are also benefits for businesses such as reduced footprint for office space, but drawbacks such as increased security risk with decentralized workers. In my opinion, we won't see workspaces completely go away, but I anticipate more flexibility and hoteling options when the workforce settles.
For job seekers, these factors have a ripple effect. Currently, we are seeing a contraction in internships. For students, internships provide experience and a gateway to jobs. With less internships, the up-and-coming workforce will be less skilled as they enter the job market. Several factors are at play. Many businesses had to eliminate skilled workers last year. Many businesses froze hiring. Many businesses asked more of their remaining workforce. As a result, there are more skilled workers on the market, less jobs, and higher expectations. This puts new graduates in a difficult position.
Natalie Gerhart Ph.D.: For BIA students, like all students, having the ability to be adaptable and grow your skills is important. Technology is rapidly changing and will continue to change over the course of most student's careers. It is important for students to demonstrate their adaptability through multiple tools, as well as their inquisitive nature that drives life-long learning. A machine learning course is a must as well as exposure to open source tools such as Python or R. Also we are seeing an uptick in demand for visualization skills (i.e. Tableau). While I haven't seen an overwhelming benefit of certifications for our students, there are certainly several available that never hurt. Google and AWS certifications are popular.
Currently, all business students need to have a basic understanding of analytics. That no longer means simply statistics, but how to use statistics to derive understanding and business insights. Further, all business students need to have an understanding of the strategic nature of technology in a business. Simply having technology is not enough.
Natalie Gerhart Ph.D.: Technology is not going away and is becoming increasingly relevant in the strategy of businesses. As a result, salaries in these fields have been trending up, and will, overall, continue to do so, I think. We have been seeing an increasing in IT spend, which doesn't always correlate with salaries, but does show an uptick in the value being placed on technology. As technology continues to evolve and become more ubiquitous, the value placed on advanced technology skills will continue to rise.
Lake Michigan College
Department of Business, Hospitality, and CISWebsite
Bradley Byerle, JD: In the various career pathways of criminal justice, the majority of employers will need to continue to hire, regardless of the pandemic. Many of these employers will need to continue with practices such as extensive background investigations to determine if potential employees possess the exceptional moral character needed to work in any criminal justice field. However, the interview process may change in some ways, depending on the department and the position. Many criminal justice employers require oral board interviews as part of the hiring process. These can be intimidating, face-to-face interviews with a panel full of interviewers. They tend to ask difficult questions which prod into the candidates' background and character. Some employers may choose to conduct remote interviews due to concerns with the pandemic. However, I see that happening more in the initial stages of the interview process. I believe that criminal justice employers will still want to conduct face-to-face interviews at later points in the hiring process. In all, as challenging as it can be to navigate the hiring process during a pandemic, many criminal justice employers will have to continue on as usual, with the addition of basic precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing.
Bradley Byerle, JD: For the majority of criminal justice positions, there are specific educational requirements or certifications needed to obtain employment. To become a corrections officer, candidates will generally need to graduate from an approved local or state corrections academy. The same is true if candidates want to become a police officer -- they will have to graduate from an approved local or state police academy. Often times there are specific educational requirements that must be met prior to entering into one of these academies. The majority of remaining criminal justice positions, such as probation and parole officer positions, will require candidates to earn a minimum of a bachelor's degree to be eligible for employment.
Bradley Byerle, JD: In the criminal justice field, salaries and hourly wages can vary greatly from position-to-position and location-to-location. Salaries and hourly wages tend to be smaller than that of many other careers, however they are also trending upward.