While COVID-19 pushed colleges to operate online, students still graduated college with their degrees and those students graduating were coming up to face their biggest obstacle yet, getting hired during a pandemic.
“After graduation I applied to over 500 jobs across America, only to hear back from a handful of employers,” explained Gustavo Contreras, a 2020 Florida State graduate with a degree in biomedical engineering. He described how difficult it was to contact hundreds of companies to not hear back from them, or hear that the company can not hire during the pandemic because the company can not support more staff members or afford to train new hires during the pandemic. He also learned that most jobs required two to five years of entry level work history, but these entry level positions were not hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statista reports that the unemployment rate of recent graduates in the United States in June of 2020 was a high of 13.6 percent. This is a major jump from the 3.6 percent the unemployment rate of recent graduates was in June of 2018, just a year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the job market for those currently in it and those seeking to join. College graduates of 2019, 2020 and 2021 will and are going to face issues to land a job that they worked so hard to earn a degree for.
CBS News reported that in a recent survey, about 45% of 2020 grads said they are still looking for work. Their report also concluded that the 2020 graduates will be competing with the 2021 graduates since the 2020 graduates were pushed back from starting their jobs in their fields of study.
Cidney Coppock, a 2020 graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, has found this competition to be true as she says she is still searching for a job in her field of study, environmental science. Coppock stated, “I am still working at the restaurant job I had while I was in college while I look for a job in my field, but right now it seems like NO one is hiring in the environmental science world.”
Burning Glass CEO talks with Yahoo about college graduates entering the ‘worst job market since the Great Depression.’
Forbes reported that the number of job postings dropped by 29% between mid-February and mid-March in 2020 while compared to the year prior. In May of 2020 according to ZipRecruiter data, the number of entry level job openings dropped by 73% and internship opportunities took a similar hit.
Elizabeth Benn, a 2019 graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said that her experience in finding a job or internship during 2019 or 2020 that used the skills she learned to earn her degree has been a massive struggle for her. She said, “Since graduation my struggles to use my degree for a career made me question my next steps and now I’m excited to start my own business that I can foster and put my energy into.” The current job force is pushing graduates to get creative and ride out the pandemic’s effect on the economy and job market.