COVID is hurting the career prospects of those recently out of school
The last thing a graduate wants to do after college is move back in with her parents. But when the COVID worldwide pandemic hit, a surprising number of college graduates chose this option.
In a recent survey, the consumer credit reporting company Experian asked 2,000 recent graduates who graduated between fall 2020 and June 2021 how the pandemic impacted their financial decisions.
Almost one-third of recent graduates, 30 percent, choose to move back in with their parents, the survey found.
The leading sources of stress for these graduates was paying rent and bills, paying for graduate school or other certifications, paying off debt, and having good credit.
Despite these concerns, over three-quarters of these graduates were hopeful about the future, with two-thirds stating that they believe they would be financially secure in six years.
Why? Nearly 80 percent of graduates valued money management, with 21 percent investing, 46 percent monitoring their credit, and 44 percent paying off debt.
Experian’s senior director of Consumer Education and Advocacy Rod Griffin said in a news release, “These findings are encouraging. Paying down debts and monitoring your credit scores and reports is one of the best things consumers can do to protect their financial health.”
Experian highlighted the financial lessons college graduates learned from the pandemic. The credit agency also asked how they felt about job security. Over 81 percent said they felt finding a job will be that much more difficult because of the pandemic.
Three graduates respond
Three 2021 graduates from Franciscan University shared their experiences with job searching during the pandemic with The College Fix.
Michael Williams, a former business student, shared in a text message that he was fortunate enough to have the job that he wanted right after graduation.
Another anonymous student shared in an interview on August 19 that although he was not personally affected by the pandemic in finding a job, he had many friends who were still struggling.
Another former student (and former contributor to The College Fix), Maria Lencki, shared a similar experience. Although she was able to obtain her dream job, at first job security was a major worry.
“I was so excited to graduate from college and begin my career journey but I was also really nervous about graduating in the middle of a pandemic because of the uncertain job market. I know that I am not the only one who felt this way as many of my peers also expressed their worries,” Lencki said.
Another survey says
These data correlate with another survey of 1,000 graduates from 2020 and 2021 performed by Monster, a company devoted to helping employer and employee “find the right fit.” Following the data shows that a little below half of 2020 graduates are still trying to find jobs.
Monster points out that most of these graduates do not want to accept a job that does not correlate with their career goals. Lencki shared this sentiment and explains, “I declined one job from a lovely company because during the interview process I learned that the job would sway me away from my career goals.” A few months later, she was offered her dream job.
According to Monster, not all recent graduates are as fortunate as Lencki or Williams, causing nearly three quarters of graduates who did accept jobs to accept them for the money and experience.
Similarly, “A surprising 69% of recent and impending grads expect lower salaries as a result of COVID-19,” says Monster.
Both Monster and Experian point out that graduates fear not finding a job.
Pew Research Center agrees. It marshals data from the the Bureau of Labor Statistics to shows that only 67 percent of 2020 college graduates are employed compared to the 76 percent of 2019 graduates. Overall, the employment rate has declined from 2019 to 2020.
Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, the unemployment rate as of July is at 5.4 percent compared to 3.5 percent pre-pandemic. Clearly the pandemic has impacted employment, especially for recent college graduates. What are they doing about it?
Next up: more school?
In the 2008-09 recession, college graduates were unable to find jobs. Therefore, they began entering graduate schools. There is a similar trend occurring today. The Association of American Medical Colleges is reporting an 18 percent increase in applications. Likewise, law school and MBA programs saw a major increase.
Two graduates from Franciscan University, Clare Dawyot and Katirn O’Leary, are examples of the class of 2021 entering graduate programs. O’Leary explained in a text correspondence, “I was planning on getting a job after graduation until it was announced that I would be able to receive a free semester of grad courses.”
Dawyot likewise told The College Fix via text, “I decided to take advantage of those and take grad classes in my gap year as I apply for med school.”
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