March 17, 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.
Dr. Mikhail Brodsky Ph.D.: Of course, everybody and everything are negatively influenced by COVID. Quality of education and employment options are down.
Dr. Mikhail Brodsky Ph.D.: There is no general answer to this question. We are all different. A good job is the one that a person enjoys.
Dr. Mikhail Brodsky Ph.D.: We teach managers. They need to be experts in the field of work additionally to managerial skills and knowledge.
University of Texas at El Paso
Marketing and Management DepartmentWebsite
Dr. Frank Cabano Ph.D.: I think maybe the biggest trend that we will continue to see is that employers are going to hire more employees to work completely from home, even after the pandemic ends. Many employers have realized the advantages of having their employees work virtually during the pandemic, and it is expected that they will continue to operate in this fashion even after it is safe to return to work in physical spaces. Therefore, I think they will continue to hire employees who can live anywhere in the world and work remotely from home.
Dr. Frank Cabano Ph.D.: I think these days something that really stands out on a resume is data analytic skills. Given the large amounts of data that companies have access to nowadays, employers are often looking for employees who have the knowledge and skills to be able to manage, analyze, and draw insights from that data. Therefore, knowledge of advanced statistics and being able to use different statistical packages to analyze large data sets, and then being able to offer evidence-based insights from this data, are important skills to have on today's job market. In addition, and related to the importance of having data analytic skills, is being able to demonstrate one's communication skills. Both written and oral communication skills are critical, and pairing these "soft" skills with the "hard" skills of data analytics, where one can effectively communicate practical implications from data analyses, should be great assets for a candidate currently on the job market.
Dr. Frank Cabano Ph.D.: There are a number of cities in the U.S. that are considered tech hubs where people can find desirable positions in data science. Some of the more well-known tech hubs besides Silicon Valley would be places like Austin, Boston, Seattle, and Denver, but there are also many up-and-coming cities in this domain such as Tampa, Charlotte, and Raleigh.
School of Business and EconomicsWebsite
Dr. Bill Adams Ph.D.: The two biggest areas of impact are in working remotely and customer service. The pandemic has shown us that many job duties can be performed remotely. However, this presents a new set of challenges for graduates entering the workforce. Graduates will have to be able to manage their time effectively, without the face-to-face motivation that typically takes place. Organizations will be more results-driven and not as concerned with the specific amount of time workers are putting in every day. If the graduates enter an organization in a leadership role, they have to understand how to inspire and motivate their followers in a remote setting. Additionally, customer service must be flexible and adaptable as we've seen with restaurants implementing take-out and brick-and-mortar retailers improving their logistics in order to deliver online orders more efficiently. Graduates will have to be open to change, which will be necessary to succeed.
Dr. Bill Adams Ph.D.: As I mentioned in the previous response, young graduates will need to able to manage their time effectively, be self-driven, understand the psychological elements of leadership to motivate and inspire their followers, and be open to change. Organizations have to continuously evolve and improve, and there's no improvement without change.
Dr. Bill Adams Ph.D.: Based on my professional experience prior to academia, current research, as well as ongoing dialogue with organizational leaders, graduates will need to express a willingness to solve problems. How many times have you become frustrated because you had a problem or issue and couldn't find anyone willing to help you solve it? Organizations need problem-solvers, people who will not accept the status quo because "it's the way things have always been done around here and it will never change." Of course, having a college degree will also boost a resume, but that will only get your foot in the door. Graduates have to be able to exhibit these skills on the job and learn from the mistakes that they will inevitably make. Graduates will also need to make sure that they are a good fit for the culture of the organization in which they are applying. I tell my students not to get frustrated if they've applied for a position and get called in for several interviews with different people. This is a good thing! The organization wants to make sure that the candidate is a good fit, which will benefit the candidate as well. It also gives the candidate an opportunity to "interview the organization."
Governors State University
Office of Career Services
Kristina Anderson: Based off my research, the job rates for public administration are expected to hold steady. Public administration jobs in state and local governments will likely increase due to the amount of positions that will be created in response to increasing consumer demand for health services, protective services, and social services. However, jobs in public administration support services are increasingly being outsourced. In addition, I think it is important to mention that consulting has been one of the fastest-growing sources of public administration jobs in the more recent years.
Kristina Anderson: That is largely determined by the job you are applying for. I would recommend analyzing the job posting and determining what qualifications are needed for the specific position you are applying for. Besides describing any directly related skills on your resume, make sure to give examples that show your related "soft skills" or transferable skills. Something else to consider is the fact that many jobs are at least partly remote, so employers want to know candidates are comfortable with the technology needed to be able to work virtually. This means it will be important to add a technology/computer skills section that lists the different systems and tools you have experience using. It will also be important to describe on your resume if you do have any prior or current experience working remotely.
Davis & Elkins College
Division of Business & EntrepreneurshipWebsite
Dr. Carol Carter Ph.D.: Yes, I believe there will be a long-lasting effect of the pandemic on graduates. Much like the Great Depression and WWII affected the attitudes and values of the generation of young people who lived then, today's students will look back at this as the watershed moment in time. Expectations of freshmen, wanting to be independent and on their own, meeting new people and learning new ideas, have had to readjust their thoughts, which has been a struggle for most. Instead of coming face-to-face in the classroom, attending athletic and club events, they now take classes in their dorm rooms, online for the most part, and feel isolated from their peers.
My hope is that the graduates take this opportunity to reevaluate what is important to them and to value personal connections, family traditions, and the compassion to help others who are in need. Profit is essential to a viable business and economy, but graduates also have to realize that people are struggling and as business people they can have a positive effect on people's lives.
Dr. Carol Carter Ph.D.: I would say that the ability to listen, to think things through and to not follow an ideology blindly will benefit them to be good leaders and team members. The ability to write well and to express oneself orally are two very useful skill sets. I also believe that the ability to think like an entrepreneur will be in demand, as new technologies change the workforce as we know it today. To be able to see an opportunity in the marketplace and have the vision to bring a new product/service to market will be critical.
Dr. Carol Carter Ph.D.: Internships!!! Nothing can replace the experience a student gets when completing a meaningful internship. The student has the opportunity to apply what they've learned in their business courses to real-world problems plus make invaluable contacts and learn the importance of networking to a successful career. I know that a lot of businesses strictly look for graduates who've been class leaders, who have volunteered countless hours during college, and have a 4.0 GPA; however in my opinion if that is all one looks for in a prospective employee they are missing out on some very fine talent.