75% of UK graduates feel current situation around Covid-19 will impact future career prospects


New research reveals three-quarters of recent graduates and current students feel that the ongoing situation around Covid-19 will heavily impact their future career prospects.

Surveying university students and graduates from 2019, leading graduate careers site Milkround and Dig-In, the UK’s leading student sampling and research company, delve into the attitudes and concerns amongst the younger generation, as they look to enter the workplace.

As revealed by Milkround earlier this year, before the Covid-19 outbreak, 60% of Gen Z (aged 18-22) typically secure a graduate position before leaving university. However, of those graduating this summer, only one fifth currently have a job lined up. Even then, three-fifths of those are worried their position will be impacted by Covid-19, as several companies retract offers and put recruitment on hold.

Georgina Brazier, Jobs Expert at Milkround, comments: “Understandably, the situation around Covid-19 is having a knock-on effect for student and graduate’s confidence in the current jobs market. However, despite many businesses being forced to postpone current recruitment drives, the ISE has revealed only a quarter of companies will be recruiting less graduates this year, showing there is still demand. Students should be reassured there are still various well-renowned companies looking for ambitious entry-level talent, to join their business and help deliver change. Most notably, the Education, Medical, Accounting, IT and Engineering, as well as the Public sector are amongst the industries still continuing to hire.”

Covid-19 affects grads job confidence

Despite four in ten revealing their employer has been in touch to put them at ease, 60% are still concerned that current circumstances may impact their position. When it comes to breaking down exactly what is impacting confidence, graduates are worried they won’t be able to secure a job before they graduate, there won’t be opportunities in the sector they want to enter, there will be more competition for jobs and salaries will be impacted.

Internship opportunities are vital but lacking

Not only have graduate jobs been impacted, but short-term work placements such as internships have also been affected and possibly reduced, as a direct impact of Covid-19.

Earlier this year, Milkround found two thirds of under 26’s wouldn’t have been able to secure their job without previous work experience, highlighting the importance of these opportunities for students and graduates when entering the world of work. However, the new research shows just 8% overall had secured an internship for this summer. Of those, a staggering 63% said current circumstances have impacted their position, including over a third being terminated completely, moved online or shortened. Although nearly a quarter of students are still searching for an internship currently, a staggering nine in ten believe Covid-19 have affected their search generally.

Georgina Brazier, Jobs Expert at Milkround, commented: “As we found previously, internships are increasingly necessary for many entry-level job requirements, therefore students should call on their existing professional connections to secure work opportunities and gain relevant experience. Whilst it is important employers are transparent with candidates, it is also vital applicants make the most of this extra time to develop their softer-skills by practicing virtual interviews techniques, such as presenting on camera or video.

“Many companies are having to pivot and adapt their plans when it comes to hiring, interview and onboarding processes currently, whether that be, delivering skill-based training or virtual projects online, partnering with universities or adopting mentorship programs. This is to ensure they are supporting their current employees and are working as effectively as possible to drive future recruitment. Milkround is here to support both employers and students and will continue to work closely with employers to promote open vacancies, ensuring students and graduates are aware of their current career options.”

Christopher Platt, Founder and CEO at Dig-In, adds: “Our latest research reveals that the majority of UK students feel under pressure and worried, due to uncertainty caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Whilst we may see a rise in students deciding to take on master’s degrees or further courses of study, in order to delay entering the jobs market by a year until things return to normal, students need to feel supported and understand the range of opportunities that are currently available to them.

Students, especially those graduating this year, should rely virtually on their university careers’ services, as well as jobs-board, such as Milkround, to navigate the current graduate jobs market. We are delighted to continue our longstanding partnership with Milkround, to help support and prepare these students and graduates, even more than before. Ultimately, this will turn them into better candidates and futureproof the workforce, as this generation look to enter an unstable jobs market and help rebuild the economy.”