April 3, 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 Massachusetts - Lowell
Public Health DepartmentWebsite
Amy Smalarz Ph.D.: Yes, there will be an enduring impact of this pandemic on our students. On one hand, many of our undergraduates have been a part of history: working in vaccine clinics, working in hospitals and urgent care centers providing direct support and putting their learnings into practice. On the other hand, we have all been living in a year of lockdown, quarantine and less social interaction - and while it's important for people of all ages, it's critical for students to have those interactions...interactions they have not been able to have.
Amy Smalarz Ph.D.: Our recent graduates are so diverse in the where they are going to work - that it's hard to describe what a 'typical' day will look like. One thing I can say is that our Public Health students are uniquely qualified and positioned to be their Department or Organization's go-to Public Health resource - and in this pandemic (and aftermath) - this will be invaluable.
Amy Smalarz Ph.D.: One influence that is happening outside of the classroom is a broader understanding and appreciation for not only what Public Health is but how it impacts all of us. Public health is a community-based population discipline and I think many more employers will appreciate the 'Public Health' lens our students bring to their organizations, which translates into increased earning potential.
There has been a re-education of sorts with this pandemic. For example, closing schools impacts not just students' learning but for many, school is where they eat two meals a day so closing schools also impacts access to food. We, in Public Health, think about community-level impacts and this education and background will be valuable to many organizations during our longer pandemic recovery.
The University of Utah
College Of Social WorkWebsite
Stephanie Bank: I think we have only hit the tip of the iceberg on the mental health toll this pandemic as caused. I think for the past year, most people were in survival mode just trying to make it through. Now, as everyone feels they can relax a bit, the stress is really impacting people in many ways. Re-entry to work environments, relationship issues, and overall happiness has been damaged which is motivating people to seek therapy. Many local social workers are full and not taking on new clients at this time which is pushing clients online to find resources. I think jobs are really going to soar in therapy both online as well as in-person. The demand is very high right now.
Stephanie Bank: Unlike other fields, our "soft skills" are a large foundational piece of our work. Communication, time management, boundaries, conflict resolution are skills we work on daily in our field. I would hope all social work graduates would poses these qualities.