February 6, 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.
University of South Florida
School of Interdisciplinary Global StudiesWebsite
Jody McBrien: The Covid pandemic reaches far beyond the issue of a global health issue. Limitations in social and economic life required to limit the reach of the virus have had major effects on both immediate and long-term job opportunities. For instance, many businesses that might have employed graduates have had to close their doors. As a result, there may be fewer opportunities, especially dependent on degrees that graduates have earned. For instance, the arts have been hard hit, as have restaurants and tourism. It remains to be seen how these important elements in society will recover.
Jody McBrien: If we look at a Spring 2021 graduate's work life, I have to say it remains highly unclear what the daily life will entail. Just last spring, we were all hopeful that we would move out of the pandemic later in 2020. But here we are, nearly a year after the beginning of this pandemic, and we are now fearing variants of the virus when we had hoped that a vaccine might allow us to move back to a more "normal" way of life by spring 2021. So it's just hard to say. I think that graduates need to be prepared for distanced jobs and technological savvy for the near future.
Jody McBrien: Certainly, the technological skills needed in the present include expertise with managing work expectations through virtual platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Given that new employees may need to work from home for several more months, self-motivation will be an important asset. Finally, given that distance work has now been a major form of employment for nearly a year, businesses will be needing to re-evaluate how work is done. There has certainly been a shift in how work is done, and many employees will have found that they may be even more productive from home. Employers will need to reconsider the importance of business sites and locations of their employees. They will need to be flexible in their thinking to consider arrangements in which their employees will be most productive.