February 27, 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.
Kelly Lynch: Absolutely - both positive and negative and both long-term and short-term impacts. For example, a negative is that there are fewer companies offering full-time opportunities than before the pandemic, so that limits options for students, for now. That is a short-term negative impact. Longer-term and more positive for Supply Chain Management graduates is that there is significantly more awareness in companies about what supply chains are and how not understanding your supply chains puts your company at risk in so may ways. Companies need to attract talent that helps them to close gaps and identify opportunities to optimize their supply chains on many fronts. Supply chains and the entities that companies make strategic components of their supply chains and interact with them proactively will gain competitive advantage - not only in terms of cost efficiency, but in new product innovation, speed-to-market, sustainability, etc.
Kelly Lynch: A good job is any position or opportunity that makes you - a recent graduate - happy. Some students are motivated by some factors and other students motivated by others. For example, it could be compensation, it could be geographic location, it could be upward mobility, it could be rotational programs, it could be finding an employer that aligns with your personal beliefs and values - or you may not want to go to a company - perhaps you want to start your own company, or go to law school, or ....?
Kelly Lynch: So many things:
-Getting involved on campus - student clubs, becoming a mentor or tutor
-Taking leadership positions in clubs, fraternities, sororities, etc.
-Take advantage of experiential opportunities - internships, micro-internships, co-ops, on-campus employment, company tours and information sessions
-Community service - what can you do to make a difference in your "college town" and surrounding community - volunteer!
-Engage with faculty - classroom assistant, research assistant - help to advance knowledge among your peers
-Be confident in yourself
-Be organized - manage your time efficiently and you will do fine
Pennsylvania State University - Behrend, Erie PA
Project & Supply Chain Management
Jason Hewitt Ph.D.: The biggest trend is a switch to online operations. Work that was forced online will most likely continue to be done there. Businesses that were forced to go online are learning there are cost advantages to keeping the work force remote. Second to that, is the need for businesses and individuals to be flexible and open to taking a different course of action at a moment's notice. Winners in the new economy will be virtual and flexible to changing their processes.
Jason Hewitt Ph.D.: Zoom for every industry. Industry-specific software is of course important as well. Communication skills, both internally as well as customer facing, are essential in these times of uncertainty.
Jason Hewitt Ph.D.: Anything that is related to your major, your passion, and your skill set. Building a career means taking a series of better and better positions as you gain experience in your field. Start small, but make sure it is a part of your bigger career plan.