Hope for the Graduate Job Market in 2020


In the wake of the biggest financial crash since 2008 Nouse Deputy Business Editor Kezia Deakin takes a look at expanding graduate employment sectors in 2020.

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By Kezia Deakin

The job
market seems quite bleak at the moment. Due to the re-cession
caused by COVID-19, many graduate employers are scaling back recruitment.
However, there is still some hope with a few companies continuing
to offer the same if not more graduate opportunities than recent years.

The rise in
virtual working has also allowed for some unexpected benefits.
Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, has announced a new scheme to promote jobs for young people. The chancellor feels the need to boost opportunities for the young-er
generation, as the COVID-19 enforced
lockdown has affected younger workers worse than any other age group in the UK. The scheme will  cost £2bn, but plans to generate 350000
six-month job placements for 18-24
year olds.

Legal sector. The legal sector only saw a 4
percent drop in graduate recruitment plans. Clifford Chance is one of the firms who shifted their summer scheme to a virtual format and
continued to offer it. A big factor in graduate recruitment is how sensitive
the broader industry is to eco-nomic
uncertainty, and while areas such as construction have seen a large drop in
employment opportunities, law has remained steady as a sector.

consultancy sector
. The recruitment sector is perhaps the one sector which has been positively
influenced by COVID-19 creating fluctuation in the job market. There have been very rapid changes in which sectors need workers,
and recruitment agencies can help to plug this gap and redirect workers to new employment. For ex-ample,
airline staff were redeployed to fly supply planes to new COVID-19 hospitals
during the peak of the pandemic.
Businesses – such as care home providers – have also needed to ramp of
recruitment to reflect the fact that employees may need substantial time off to
self-isolate. Recruitment agencies such as i4 have done well un-der
this uncertainty and kept hiring graduates.

IT and
digital technology sector
. Digital technology is one of the biggest players in restructuring life around
Covid. The massive spike in remote working, and people turning to digital technology in periods of social
isolation – who didn’t do a virtual pub quiz over quarantine? – has al-lowed
expansion in this sector. There are more calls for software engineers, web developers and online security specialists. Neil Carberry – the chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation – states there has been “indications of growth for
roles like IT professionals and de-signers...as
firms adapt to meet the challenges of a changed market”.

**Virtual opportunities.**Virtual opportunities have
increased. In May, the charity up Reach set up a number of four-week programmes and “assessed
virtual internships”. They are delivered by volunteers from employ-ers
such as various law firms – including
Allen and Ovary and Slaughter and May – but also the Civil Service and Goldman
Sachs. Forage (for-merely
Inside Sherpa) have expanded their range of virtual experience programmes in response
to COVID-19, and have been supported even more by various

They offer virtual experiences
across a range of sec-tors:
tech, engineering, law, accounting, software engineering
and more. While these experiences
don’t naturally lead onto a specific graduate job, they can be a good way to round out a CV so your application
to graduate jobs is stronger.

The positive
of virtual opportunities is that they can be less exclusive than their real-life
counterparts. Forage does not require applications or experience and the
programmes can be done at your own pace, so it is easy to fit around a busy schedule.

companies like Linklaters offer non-exclusive virtual experiences
through Forage. This has allowed access to students who may have had an
interest in the company but previously
struggled with the long ap-plication
and interview process. A switch to remote working can also allow a wider net for job applications. Graduates
can now apply for jobs that previously would have been inaccessible due to the commute or the distance.

Flexibility.The Guardian’s annual student recruitment survey 2019 showed that 86 per cent of employers do not care what degree a student studied.
It may be more possible than you think to use transferable
skills to get into anew
sector that is less competitive.