October 24, 2020

Careers During COVID-19: How Will the New Job Market Affect PC Graduates?

posted on: Thursday October 1, 2020

The job market has been negatively affected by COVID-19, leading to a rise in unemployment in recent college graduates. Photo courtesy of the Center for Career Education and Professional Development.

Careers during COVID-19: How Will the New Job Market Affect PC Graduates?

by Julia McCoy ’22

Opinion Staff

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our small campus community. But how will it affect our lives after we leave Providence College and move on to the “real world?”

In addition to the changes we are facing on campus, it is impossible to ignore the changes in the job market over the past six months. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States in March, more than 50 million people have filed for unemployment. 

More specifically, according to CNBC, 35% of people from the ages of 18 to 29 say that they have somehow been affected by this unemployment surge—this can include themselves or people in their family. These statistics are scary when students begin to consider life after college.

Additionally, unemployment rates among recent college graduates—from 2015 to 2020—have risen from 3.8% to 13.3% since March of this year. This number is certainly grim. But there are ways to combat this.

Luckily, students at the College are not alone. PC’s Center for Career Education is working diligently and adapting to each situation that is thrown its way. The class that can attest to this help the most is the class of 2020.

As Eileen Wisnewski, a career coach in PC’s Center for Career Education, explains, graduated seniors are given a “First Destination Survey” from the day after graduation until December of the same year asking them about career plans and job offers. If a student who has already graduated from PC needs help finding a job or practicing for an interview, they will be personally contacted by the Center for Career Education about setting up a coaching appointment.

Another program put in place to encourage students to think of life after PC is the Pivot Program. This, according to Wisnewski, was “designed to help students demonstrate professional development and gain skills while they were looking for a job or internship over the summer.”

The important thing to note is that the program was developed for both students returning this fall and those who already graduated in 2020. This proactive initiative from the Center for Career Education promises students that the Career Center will continue to provide coaching no matter the circumstances.

The Pivot Program brings up a great point: employers understand that times are tough right now, but they want to see how you are getting through it. Are you taking advantage of opportunities or are you waiting for the pandemic to end? It might seem like the world has stopped, but adapting to the circumstances is the best way to successfully get through it.

As Wisnewski pointed out, “The major shift we are seeing is having the entire hiring process conducted virtually at this time.” This could very well continue for a while after the pandemic is over, so we should face the inevitable and start preparing now.

One of the things to prepare for the most in starting a new job is certainly the orientation process. Even for Nicole Gass ’20, who is an essential worker, parts of her training were conducted over a video conferencing system. She learned about company policies and human resources information through online services and has since been able to transition to in-person work seamlessly. Her experience shows that many employers are working hard to ensure safe and easy transitions in unconventional ways during this difficult time.

Although Julia Lorkiewicz ’20 already had a job offer before the onset of the pandemic, she was worried that the changes in the job market and the rise in unemployment would have an effect on her future employment. She met with a career coach who she says “gave [her] peace of mind that eventually everything will work out.” In addition to this, Lorkiewicz completed various online programs, as her company is working fully remotely until at least 2021. Her advice is that everyone should take advantage of the new coaching appointments which helped her adapt to the new job market.

With everything currently going on in the world, it makes sense to feel uneasy about future employment and the way the world may look beyond our PC bubble. The only way to stay on top of things is to stay proactive and utilize the resources around you. 

The world is rapidly changing, but PC and many companies around the world are adapting right along with it. Though the prospect of finding a job after graduation may seem daunting, it is important to remember that PC is providing a variety of resources that students may turn to in their efforts to excel. 

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