May update: What is happening to the graduate labour market as restrictions ease?

Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence

In April we gave you an update on how the labour market was looking 

We recently attended an excellent webinar hosted by Charlie Ball from Prospects Luminategiving us an update on the latest trends in the job market. As we see significant easing in lockdown restrictions, what are we seeing in the job market now? 

What is happening right now 

There are some statistics that suggest that graduate job listings are still at a lower rate than pre-pandemic levels. However, these figures usually come from job aggregator/job board sites. What we are seeing is a trend for graduate employers to be recruiting directly on their websites rather than using these sites, so the reduction may be less than the statistics suggest. Therefore, make sure to also bookmark company website job listings directly and follow companies on social media to ensure you have the best chance of seeing jobs being advertised. 

In general though, overall job listings across the whole job market are nearing pre-pandemic levels. There are lots of vacancies in manufacturing, construction, transport/logistics, IT, property, engineering, and science. These sectors have vacancy levels above February 2020 levels. Management, education, and marketing roles are at 95% of their February levels. Lots of these sectors tend to recruit graduates so worth exploring these areas for vacancies. 

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) predict that employment is not expected to get back to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2023. However, this is across the whole workforce and in general those with a degree have been less impacted by the pandemic. In fact, average unemployment for recent graduates continues to decrease and is well below the youth unemployment rate 

The Institute of Student Employers who represents big graduate employers has reported that many of the employers they represent are planning to recruit the same or more numbers of graduates. In retail and FMCG particularly they are increasing the number of graduate hires they are recruiting. So it looks like there will be an increasing number of graduate job opportunities even if the labour market as a whole isn’t quite back to normal.  

Work experience 

Work experience opportunities were badly affected by the pandemicwith only 17% of students in a Prospects survey reporting that they had undertaken work experience in the last 12 months. Indeed reported a reduction of 41% from 2019 levels in internship vacancies on their site. So, if you missed out on these or had your experience cancelled – don’t panic. Many students will be in the same boat and employers will understand that it has been a challenging environment to get the kind of experience they’d normally expect. Employers will view positively on any experience you proactively sought out during this difficult year; e.g. volunteering in the community or attending a virtual internshipssuch as through Bright Network. 

Work experience opportunities were one of the first things to get cancelled last Summer and we’d hope to see a return to these as things start returning to a degree of normality.  

If you are looking for part-time work alongside your studies which can also supply useful transferable experience and skills there is good news. Hospitality has large numbers of vacancies they need to fill and many employers in this sector are reporting difficulties in filling their roles. So, if you are looking for a part-time job you might find it easier to get one of these roles over the coming months. If you are in or near Bath, make sure to check out SU Jobs for local part-time roles. 

Check out our blogs on work experience for more information: 

Remote working 

Last week about 26% of the workforce worked solely from home. However, this is hugely sector dependent with for example the vast majority of those working in IT, professional services and education working from home. Sectors reporting high levels of homeworking are also likely to be those that recruit a lot of graduates.  

There is likely to be longer-term changes in how workplaces operate. With a mixture of homeworking and office working the norm for many industriesSo, for a lot of graduate jobs, it is very likely you will be working from home at least some of the time. Depending on how the easing of restrictions pans out, you may end up starting a job remotely full-time. 

This change to higher levels of remote means that some skills will take on a new value to employers. Skills such as remote collaboration, time management and online communication, and an understanding of how virtual communication platforms work, will be vital. A lot of these skills you have developed while working on your academic studies remotely – so don’t underestimate the skills and experience you have already. 

We have some blogs that cover this topic in more detail: 

Final thought 

We hope you found this a useful summary. As with all these updates, it is worth emphasising that the graduate labour market is slightly different to the wider job market.   The take home message is that things continue to improve. Graduate employers are ramping up recruitment. Remote working is here to stay in some form.  

Want to find out more about the labour market? Stay Connected offers you access to bespoke careers resources and specially curated events to support you into the world of work or further study. As part of Stay Connected 2021 we are running a webinar on the graduate job market in a post-covid world on Monday 7 June. Find out more about Stay Connected and register to view the event.  

Source for labour market data and trends: Prospects Luminate

Posted in: Labour Market Intelligence


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