February 20, 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 Religious StudiesWebsite
Robert Geraci Ph.D.: Two critical things happened in 2020 that will bring changes to the job market: the COVID-19 pandemic and the social justice movements, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement. In the aftermath of COVID-19, I expect we'll see considerable demand for health service professionals as people look to cope with difficulties imposed by isolation. In addition, we'll see shifts in how and where people work--many will be able to remain at home and this will create a shifting landscape of job descriptions and opportunities. Many employees will want to go back to the social experience of working together, but others will prefer the flexibility of working from home.
The impact of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements will create more interest in the development of products (especially, but not exclusively, in entertainment) that are available to and interesting for a wider swath of society. There will also be growth in business consulting efforts to improve corporate culture. Religious Studies graduates will be particularly well-positioned for such jobs, based on the cross-cultural perspectives gleaned from study in the field.
Robert Geraci Ph.D.: The ability to read, write, and think critically are timeless skills. Applying these thoughtfully to social media could be a particularly crucial skill as companies seek to brand themselves effectively and avoid public missteps that come from cultural ignorance and/or myopic views of the American public. Students in Religious Studies receive an education that recognizes cultural diversity and have opportunities to think about what is or is not an effective and accurate perspective of different peoples.
Robert Geraci Ph.D.: There is no professional field in Religious Studies. Students who major in Religious Studies typically end up working in the private sector, though many also join government, NGOs, and other international organizations. Salaries in these latter fields have been--as far as I'm aware--relatively static. But private sector jobs, especially those in tech companies are on the rise. The ability to help a company expand its audience and promote positive publicity will be of ongoing worth to companies as they expand their global footprints.