Graduate Opportunities this Autumn: How the UK graduate labour market is faring through the pandemic

Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence

The Autumn is normally the peak season for graduate recruitment. While we are seeing lots of employer activity, in these challenging times we think it is important that we are honest and open with you about what is happening in the labour market.

It is important to remember that there are opportunities still out there. But you may need to be a bit more flexible and willing to keep your options to open.

What are the current effects of COVID-19 on the labour market?

According to a Prospects Luminate event hosted by Prospects Head of Higher Intelligence, Charlie Ball, and Information Analyst Laura Greaves, the picture is not good overall but is much better for graduates than non-graduates, and the picture differs from sector to sector. Both were keen to stress that information comes out very fast and is not necessarily being checked in the same way as it usually would be.

Are there any signs of recovery?

The current situation in the economy is not good but not as bad as predicted. The economy looks to be slowly recovering but we are not likely to be back to February levels for some time.  There is concern that there has been lasting damage to the Arts, Creative Industries and Retail has been hit particularly hard

What are the current number of vacancies?

Vacancies are going up but from a place where there were record lows in April/May 2020. Currently, vacancies are 50-55% down on this time last year, but 19% of employers say they are increasing their recruitment.

We are seeing encouraging signs that employers are keen to engage with Bath students despite these reductions. Employers are submitting vacancies on MyFuture, hosting events for Bath students and over 90 are attending our Virtual Autumn fair on 15 & 16 October.

Which industries are doing well?

IT & Technology is doing well as are Health and Healthcare sectors, and much of the public sector. Engineering is buoyant at the moment particularly in manufacturing (Pharma and food) and distilling,  it is not so rosy in aerospace and car manufacture.

Target jobs has an excellent overview: How are different sectors adapting to the pandemic?

You can also find weekly Graduate labour market updates on Prospects Luminate

How is the pandemic changing the nature of recruitment?

The way organisations recruit and assess candidates has changed drastically. Whether this is a short-term shift or a more permanent change, it’s too early to say. Even before the pandemic we were seeing an increase in virtual or remote recruitment stages such as recorded video interviews and online assessments

What is perhaps a new trend is that interviews and assessment centres are now entirely virtual too.  This can pose new challenges but does have some benefits too as you won’t have to take as much time out for travel. Many of our tips and advice for in-person interviews and assessment centres still very much apply in a virtual setting. And we have put together some practical tips on the new virtual aspects of these too.

You can find all our advice in our Get Started guide for interviews and assessment centres.

We are also seeing a trend toward an extended recruitment season rather than a concentrated few months. Companies are holding off opening recruitment until they have a better sense of their needs.

You can find out more about how employers are doing things differently in our blog on connecting with employers in the cloud.

How is the pandemic changing the nature of work?

Many businesses are still consolidating and shifting around their resources in order to work successfully within the confines of coronavirus measures and therefore are stagnant with their recruitment.

It may be the case longer term that the main impact of the pandemic on work is not the number of jobs but HOW they are carried out. It may be that work becomes more adaptable with some time working from home and then flexible office spaces that workers visit a few times a week or month.

So, what is the take home message?

As we all understand, the graduate job market is not where it was at this time last year. However, the number of vacancies are increasing and there are still jobs out there. Some sectors are faring better than others and it is important to consider this. It is also important to be flexible in your job hunting, have a look at our excellent resources below in how to do just that.

Hang in there, keep on applying and get in touch with us if you need further support.

Useful resources

We have created a number of resources with advice specific to the current situation:

Source for labour market data and trends: Prospects Luminate


Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence


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