They've had little advice from lecturers, heard nothing from employers, and graduation has largely been a "non-event." What's next?by Clara Hernanz-Lizarraga / June 22, 2020 / Leave a comment
Yousef Sharif, a final year politics student at University College London, had been hoping to get a graduate job at the public relations company where he interned last summer. But as the pandemic unfolded, he was told in an email in January that they were freezing hiring. “So, it’s just kind of a waiting game with them,” he said over the phone.
“In my mind, [studying] has been towards an end goal of getting a job once I graduate and starting off in a career and work my way up, but now it seems like that’s at least going to be delayed,” said Sharif.
Graduation has become a “non-event”
Nearly three months into lockdown, we have only begun to see how the current crisis, which has set off what the Bank of England says will be “the worst recession in 300 years”, might affect young people. Recent data shows that one third of 18 to 24-year-old employees, excluding students, have lost work since March, compared to one in six for those between the ages of 35 and 60. Those under 25, and young women in particular, are more likely than any other group to work in sectors directly affected by lockdown measures, such as hospitality and retail. Xiaowei Xu, an economist at the Institute For Fiscal Studies, told me a third of young people start their careers in those sectors for which demand will be low as long as the lockdown persists. “The question is what will happen when the first rung of people’s career ladders is taken away,” she said.
Job vacancies, a telling indicator of economic activity, are at their lowest since 2012, and the economy shows virtually no signs of recovery outside the health and social care sector. As for final year students, a survey revealed that two thirds of graduating students had seen applications paused or withdrawn due to the pandemic.
Olivia Pope, a 21-year-old law student at the University of Liverpool went through a six-stage application process before being offered a job at an airport regulator. In late March, she received an email saying that…