Opinion | Students can capitalise on a changing job market during Covid-19


By Molly Downham, Third Year, English

Economic pundits are busily pre-empting a post-Covid-19 labour market. For students, the reality is already unfolding with lost opportunities and locked doors. The Graduate Market in 2020 report reveals annual vacancies are down 10.8 percent.

It appears as though post-graduate schemes are becoming backlogged with the class of 2020 and 2021. Internships have been moved online in a best case scenario, and non-existent in the worst.

The impact of an uncertain future is mentally destabilising, and economically derailing for students, as we pay into a system that for all intents and purposes appears to be failing.

However, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: businesses are making the leap into the virtual. Consequently, social media platforms are shedding a light on the need for students and soon-to-be graduates to get savvy.

While it is easy to get distracted by the negatives of the current predicament, positive changes are definitely occurring.

With many speculating and predicting that remote working will become the new normal, one cannot help but notice that the workplace is becoming more globalised, as job opportunities are beginning to be accessible from anywhere in the world. While this has its downfalls, as there will be far more competition, there are undoubtedly advantages to be found in the increased amount of opportunities.

Students also have a definite advantage as they are used to virtual work

Amongst the advantages of remote work, is the fact that it is likely that the private sectors in the UK will become less London-centric and therefore more accessible. This is a great opportunity for students who would have previously been unable to, to expand their applications.

Having adapted to online learning, students also have a definite advantage as they are used to virtual work. This will be particularly useful when it comes to networking, as networking is no longer happening behind closed doors, but behind computer screens. Therefore, in some ways, lockdown has allowed for us to find a wider variety of opportunities and perhaps to tap into a hidden job market.

In 2020, 86 percent of the top graduate employers opted for virtual recruitment presentations. Students should therefore take the opportunities provided on platforms like LinkedIn, who promote a range of events. Attending these presentations provides an excellent chance to subsequently approach a speculative employer. Simply draft an email and hit connect on their LinkedIn profile.

Students should really take advantage of this period to follow their passions

Similarly, vocational training is also cheap and extremely inclusive - with the new difficulties of finding internships, the extra knowledge that most vocational courses will give you, will provide you with an additional edge as a student or graduate entering the job market.

Job-seeking perhaps now more than ever, demands strategy and innovation. In a pandemic, this means capitalising on social change.

For example, vacancies in consumer goods are estimated to rise by 16.2 percent, whereas media jobs expected to decline by 1.5 percent during 2021. Aspiring journalists may therefore want to double-up on applications for extra copywriting or marketing jobs.

This just one of many examples to highlight that a disadvantage can sometimes be an advantage. That is to say that the possibilities are endless and students just need to react astutely to the employment obstacles that arise as a result of this pandemic.

A pandemic also presents opportunities in volunteering, beginning student-led businesses, and even freelancing. Students should really take advantage of this period to follow their passions, and go at their own pace.

However, in doing so, it is equally important to not lose sight of the fact that we have all worked very hard towards graduating from a Russell Group University, and employers need us as much as we need them.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Israel Andrade

Are you apprehensive about the changing job market following the Covid-19 pandemic? Let us know!