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Just 16pc of graduates have found jobs this year, survey suggests

8 Sep 2020

Almost three-quarters of graduates surveyed by Walters People Ireland believe Covid-19 has prevented them from entering the workforce.

Recruitment consultancy Walters People Ireland has said that just 16pc of graduates looking for work have found employment since March of this year.

That’s based on a survey of 1,500 graduates in Ireland, in which nearly three-quarters (70pc) of respondents said Covid-19 is directly to blame for their unemployment. Walters People suggested new graduates entering the market after the summer will be met with “job hunt fatigue” by the end of 2020.

The survey found that among that young graduates aged between 18 and 24, market confidence has fallen by almost 20pc. In a 2019 survey, 85pc of graduates felt optimistic about their future, while only 67pc reported feeling the same way in 2020.

According to Walters People, the average length of time taken for graduates to find their first job has increased. Last year, more than one-third of students found employment before the end of their course or training. This has dropped to one-quarter in 2020 and is “looking to be more strained by the end of the year”.

Sarah Owen, director of Walters People Ireland, attributed the drop to the fact that during “times of crisis or uncertainty”, employers will recruit “experience over potential”.

“However, what large firms will miss out on if they do continue to pause graduate-hiring schemes is a generation of fresh ideas, digital know-how and innovation – hindering Ireland’s competitive advantage in what is an increasingly global market,” Owen added.

“Typically, start-ups and fast-growing SMEs have been quick to hire talented junior professionals who illustrate potential to grow with the business. However, with some of the smaller companies hit the hardest and training and development budgets temporarily frozen, there are less opportunities for those looking to get their first step on the ladder.”

‘Revamp your approach’

According to Walters People, job interviews over video have grown by 67pc during the pandemic, and the use of online testing platforms has jumped by 40pc.

In terms of job hunting, Owen advised that graduates could “revamp” their approach to applications by creating a short video detailing their experience, rather than just sending an email or submitting a CV.

“Start to understand the key words and skills in your preferred job specs and align your LinkedIn and online profiles to reflect this. In this current market you have to almost convince a business as to why they need you,” she added.

“Be bold in your approach, share ideas, show your passion for the industry and get across why you believe change can lead to opportunity, as this is the type of mindset that a business is seeking from any new starter, be it junior or someone much more experienced.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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