By Colin Falconer (cs_rose1)
Graduate positions are a massive point of concern for students this year in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and the reality of going into a remote working environment is a daunting one for students. I spoke with two masters students studying in business disciplines who are in the early stages of applying for graduate positions to start in September.
Ben Gow, International Business student from the University of Stirling, knows there is a chance that graduate positions will be limited and is hopeful that they won’t be online based for an extended period of time.
“I don’t think I could cope, and I know I’m not the only one.”
With it being such a hard time for students at the moment with studying remotely and not being able to interact with class mates it doesn’t look like it will be getting any easier as most workplaces are now also conducting meetings in a remote environment with offices being closed.
“I’m optimistic but there is also an element of pessimism.”
With the added knowledge of a Masters degree Ben feels that he will be more than qualified for the graduate positions he pursues. This contrasts with the increasing uncertainty around whether the job roles will be able to be fulfilled in either a normal or remote environment which does leave him with an element of worry for the future.
He also speaks on the need for human interaction and the effect that a lack of socialising is having on him personal, which can be heard in the clip below.
Scott Joyce, International Management student from the University of the West of Scotland believes that there has been a lack of organisation when it comes to remote learning from universities and this hasn’t helped prepare him for the current working environment.
“All we’ve done is write essays and do presentations remotely, I don’t feel like it has prepared me well for a graduate position.’
Coming from a course such as business where there is a large element of theory as well as needing to be practically aware of the roles you will be required to perform it is understandable where Scott’s frustration is coming from. While he is aware university is a very independent environment, there could be more done to help prepare the students especially in the troubling period we find ourselves at present.
“It’s really hard to try and find something just now.”
With a tailored masters course the difficulty in finding a suitable graduate programme is to be expected. Scott shared that because of the inability to look further afield into the English job market he believes that the opportunities right now are limited to him and others in his area of study.
To look at this from an experts point of view I contacted Kenny McCulloch, a Recruitment Consultant for ASA Recruitment and spoke regarding the volume of graduate positions being advertised by companies and also the reason behind why there will be less opportunities available in the future.
“What I am seeing is a drop off in the private sector but the number of graduates and grad programmes are going down.”
With the majority of last years graduate programmes having already been signed off on before the pandemic reached the UK this wasn’t as much of a hit as it could have been. Kenny believes that this year we will see a bigger drop in these types of salaried positions as funding will not be guaranteed.
“The first 3 months is make or break whether you will stay in that job.”
Kenny addresses a very poignant issue that he believes is “a challenge much bigger than finding a job to apply for.” As there is a massive problem with the onboarding issues that companies will be facing and it is something that companies are just getting used to in this economic climate with normal members of staff, never mind those who would need a larger and more robust training scheme like a graduate.
With the financial burden placed on many companies at the moment, which Kenny also explained during my interview with him with the move into the world of work being unclear for current and prospective university graduates.