March 26, 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.
George Mason University
Department of Psychology
William Helton Ph.D.: The pandemic only accelerated the need for organizations to consider the human factor or the user experience for all products and services. Usability, user experiences (UX) and human factors were already on a massive growth trajectory. The pandemic basically throw gasoline on the fire. The demand in the market way outstrips the supply. Getting a degree in Human Factors from a place with a good reputation, like George Mason University, is one of the savviest investments a student can make.
William Helton Ph.D.: I think employers want graduates from an established and well-respected institution. Word of mouth and an established network enables employees being able to attract the attention of quality employers. Everyone in the education community is jumping on the usability/user experience/human factors bandwagon and to be really credible it helps to have an established reputation. In regard to specific skills acquired in courses, it helps to have solid foundation in data analysis and user research methods, task analysis, courses in usability and product design, etc.
William Helton Ph.D.: They have gotten extremely high. I believe human factors or user experience researcher/designer is now considered one of the best jobs out there (also often with data analyst - which is not entirely unrelated). I know I'm often shocked at the salaries and packages our graduates get offered; I often wonder why I'm still in academia.