Just a tenth of Irish graduates have found work this year with ‘job hunt fatigue’ penned to hit by Christmas, a report by recruitment agency Walters People Ireland shows. Only 16 per cent of grads have found a job since March and 70 per cent of professionals blame Covid-19 for the delayed entry into the workforce as job confidence among young people dipped.
In interviews with 1,500 Irish graduates, Walters People found that only six per cent have taken the opportunity to upskill in other areas outside of their degree choice. One in five young professionals expect a drop in pay this year. Last year, 85 per cent of graduates felt optimistic about their future, compared to 67 per cent of graduates in 2020.
The average length of time to find a first job is longer in 2020. In 2019, more than one in three Irish students found their first job before the end of their course or training. This year, the rate has dropped to one in four students – with the statistics looking to be more strained by the end of the year, Sarah Owen, director, Walters People Ireland, 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,” Owen said. “Large firms will miss out on if they continue to pause graduate-hiring schemes – a generation with ideas, digital know-how and innovation – hindering Ireland’s competitive advantage globally.”
Owens said that typically start-ups and fast-growing SMEs were quick to hire talented junior professionals with potential to grow the business. However, with some smaller Irish companies hit the hardest and training and development budgets temporarily frozen, there are less opportunities for those looking to get their first step on the ladder.
A change in hiring
Owens says businesses have pivoted their recruitment approach during lockdown which led to a 67 per cent increase in video job interviews and a 40 per cent 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.
“Things are not the same, and times have changed very rapidly and so my advice to young job seekers is to approach your job hunt differently to what you would have done pre-Covid,” Owen added. “Employers have changed their recruitment process overnight to be completely remote, digitally-focused and supplemented by data and AI.
“Rather than email or submit a CV, revamp your approach by creating a quick video detailing your experience, while showing your personality. Start to understand the key words and skills in your preferred job specs and align your LinkedIn and online profiles. In the current market, you have to almost ‘convince’ a business as to why they need you.
“Be bold in your approach, share ideas, show your passion for the industry, and get across why you believe change can lead to opportunity – as this is the type of mindset that a business is seeking from any new starter, be it junior or someone much more experienced,” Owen said.