2020 Graduates Face Unemployment and Uncertainty

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

It’s a complete cliche, but 2020 has been one tough year for everybody. Many are counting down the days to the 31st of December just to finally rid the chaos that has arisen from COVID-19 and more. With the economy struggling and businesses having to reduce staff and working hours, unemployment is prevalent. As of July 2020, the number of employees in the UK on payroll is down around 730,000 compared with March 2020.

As the class of 2020 graduated into a recession, they faced uncertainty for their future. Ellie Mullane, HR Manager for Rgifts Ltd discusses the challenges faced regarding employment for graduates in 2020. Challenges that were already present such as deciding whether to continue on to study a Masters degree or enter full-time work have only been heightened as a result of the pandemic.

Mullane comments, “Graduates will not only be competing with other graduates for a role within their desired field but they will now be competing with experienced workers who have been made redundant. A lot of companies have been hit hard with the effects of COVID-19 and so there will also be a shortage of jobs available not only within the desired fields but also part time jobs in bars, retail etc. Even if a student is lucky enough to land themselves a role in their desired field or a job in general, they could be facing more challenges such as short term contracts and how much they end up earning.”

Nia George recently graduated from Bristol university where she studied Sociology, although this has helped her get her current role working for a charity which advises members of the public when they need help, she faced her own challenges regarding employment. Having her university experience cut short in March left her feeling extremely down and anxious for her future, she states, “Having no closure to university life was so difficult, especially as clearly there was a recession looming, and there was no chance for one last bit of normality.”

Finishing university without a graduation or a proper goodbye was challenging in it’s own right, let alone seeking employment in the aftermath of a pandemic. She explains, “Since May, I have sent out over 100 job applications, all of them were jobs I knew I would be great at, yet I received constant rejections, or worse, no response at all. It was terrifying as I had lost my part-time job due to COVID-19. Dealing with rejection is always difficult and this was a huge challenge for me, and I know my friends feel the same. A lot of employers are unprofessional when it comes to the hiring process (unprofessional feedback, or no acknowledgement at all, even sometimes after an interview) and that is tough to deal with as it is dehumanising”. 

Although unemployment will prove challenging, working on bettering your own employability is essential, and small changes can make a huge difference. Mullane advises, “Personality is key. Be yourself. Tell me about your hobbies and interests, your extra-curricular activities, volunteering experiences. Think of your CV as a paper version of yourself. Is your CV an accurate representation of yourself?”

Nia George, with her own experience, leaves us with some advice on coping with unemployment whilst searching for jobs.

Nia’s Best Tips…

  1. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method in your interviews and applications. Always have evidence to support your statements.
  2. Apply for as many jobs as you possibly can, Nia elaborates, “if you get an interview, that’s great, and even if you’re not keen on the job you get to practice interview skills.”
  3. Make sure to apply for benefits, and if you’re unsure about anything, contact Citizens Advice for further information.
  4. Don’t counteract applying through Indeed.
  5. Have your email notifications on and check your spam and junk section every couple of days.
  6. Don’t be ashamed to ask for another person to have a look at your job application.
  7. Nia adds, “If you are feeling scared, I was too, but there is no shame in not having a job, and as long as you are happy, that’s what matters!”.

Ciao for now x

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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