After spending a year and a half stuck inside and participating in virtual classes due to the pandemic, the class of 2021 graduated!
Now, it has been two months since graduation ceremonies and the excitement around graduating from college has worn off. What are the 2021 grads doing now?
They Have Cautious Optimism
The Class of 2021 was in elementary or early middle school when the Great Recession in 2009 hit. For most of them, they can vaguely recall what was going on at that time.
Then, the Class of 2021 witnessed the Class of 2020 graduating. They were left with no commencement ceremonies, only with quickly made live streams and congrats videos, and sent off into the world to find careers. Now, 45% of those grads are still on the search for a permanent career.
There becomes an issue when these past graduates are now in competition for the same roles that 2021 grads are vying for. And not only are the 2021 grads in competition with the 2020 grads but entry-level employees were laid off in masses in 2020. That is putting them back into the job search, making them also competitors for similar level jobs.
How They Prepared for Post-Grad
During the past year and a half, we have been bombarded with talk about the high unemployment rates and insecurity in the job market. The 2021 grads were aware of the job market that they were going into.
Colleges saw an increase in student engagement with career services and other outside assistance for career help. This was due to the fact that career awareness is high.
For some, they chose the graduate school route. Graduate school admissions typically see an increase in applications during economic slowdowns. The admissions process became more holistic when many exams were waved because of pandemic restrictions.
Biggest Worries of 2021 Grads
For many, they have taken temporary positions or a position that does not fit with their interests. This has many putting career goals on hold. There are now more options as the job market is turning back to normal.
Many recent grads fear that when the paychecks come, they will be lower than they were previously. 69% of college grads expect a lower paycheck due to COVID-19, and this is even higher for grads of color.
Those lower paychecks are even more of a concern when student loan bills start again in October 2021. Even before the pandemic, one in four people with student loan debt were in a state of default or delinquency. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Student Loans Owned and Securitized, student loans were at $1.75 Trillion as of September 2020.
Advice Experts are Giving
College experts say those who are recent graduates should focus on virtual or in-person networking, focusing on making those gaps meaningful, and practicing on Zoom interviews.
It is good to note that the top industries right now are medical, finance, tech, and education. Therefore, generally, there is a higher demand for people to fill those roles.
Don’t Forget Those 2021 High School Grads too!
High school seniors were greatly impacted by graduating in the midst of the pandemic as well. The graduating class was a bit smaller than usual, due to the extraneous circumstances that they were under.
For the 2020-2021 school year, many 2020 high school grads chose to take a gap year. This trend is continuing, not at as high of rates. Though gap years are great for developing soft skills such as teamwork, willingness to try new things, curiosity, and courage.
Overall, the graduating classes during the pandemic have faced hardships to get where they are today but will continue to overcome challenges and remain resilient. For more information on Gen Z and how to recruit them, request a demo from the Scholars team!