A survey of 1,500 Irish graduates has found that only 16% of graduates looking for their first job since March have been successful, with the new cohort of graduates from the summer set to hit ‘job hunt fatigue’ by Christmas.
The research from Walters People Ireland shows that three quarters of young graduates (70%) directly blame Covid-19 for their delayed or lack of entry into the workforce, yet only 6% have taken this opportunity to upskill in other areas outside of their degree choice.
With almost a quarter of young professionals (21%) stating that they anticipate a pay decrease this year, market confidence amongst the young (18-24 yrs) has dropped by almost 20%. In 2019, 85% of graduates felt optimistic about their future, compared to 67% of graduates in 2020.
Furthermore, the average length of time to find your first job is longer in 2020. In 2019, more than 1 in 3 Irish students found their first job before the end of their course or training. In 2020, this has already dropped to 1 in 4 students – with the statistics looking to be more strained by the end of the year.
According to Walters People Ireland, businesses have pivoted their recruitment approach during lockdown which led to a 67% increase in video job interviews and a 40% increase in use of online testing platform. As a result, the number of job offers made remotely during lockdown tripled compared to the general average pre-lockdown.
Commenting on the research, Director of Walters People Ireland, Sarah Owen said, "In times of crisis or uncertainty, companies tend to hire experience over potential – which is why the junior-end of the jobs market has been so badly hit. 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."
She added, "Typically start-ups and fast-growing SME’s 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 & development budgets temporarily frozen; there are less opportunities for those looking to get their first step on the ladder."