August 29, 2023
Over the next few months, employers will be recruiting recent university graduates into their first position following their degree. However, this year there is a difference. 2023 graduates are the first group to have entered into their university experience during the Covid pandemic amid all the restrictions that lockdown brought.
This time saw most students experience their previously on-campus courses turn fully remote, a new experience for both students and staff. However, university isn’t solely about the knowledge you acquire but also the social experience and real-life skills you gain from your first taste of independence. This begs the question: will the class of 2023 but properly skilled and equipped to fill roles for employers?
In normal years, a graduate would feel mostly prepared for the big, wide world of work. This would be a result of a variety of social experiences and developing face-to-face skills different to those of being a school student. For many, university is a first taster of what it is to be treated like an adult and take responsibility for yourself. However, lockdown took away the social element to most courses. Students had a more limited and remote experience with lecturers and peers.
What, then, could this mean for employers? For a start, businesses may need to energise graduates and make office-based work seem more appealing. With many companies now cutting back on working from home, they may need to convince some graduates that this is a positive experience. Many graduates will have become accustomed to the convenience of remote work and managing their own time accordingly. A strict, campus-based timetable would have eased many before them into the idea of office-based work. However, with this step missing, will employers see a dip in fresh graduates willing to take on the commute?
2023 graduates will have fine-tuned a different set of skills, which could hugely benefit employers. These graduates will have an undeniable sense of independent thinking and self-motivation that may not be in the make-up of previous generations. Beginning their university experience remotely with a need to take accountability of their own time means that they will already be well versed in personal responsibility and managing a workload without someone stood over them.
In addition to this, the class of 2023 have spent a considerable amount of time online, using software that perhaps previous graduates wouldn’t recognise. 2023 graduates spent hours upon hours on video calls and using software such as Microsoft Teams which many had not heard of until the pandemic. Digital communication skills such as virtual interviews, online careers fairs and remote networking are things that everyone has had to learn. However, this year’s output will already have these skills in their back pocket and could Possibly help to upskill colleagues.
The pandemic saw many people pick up a new skill or a hobby in their downtime. This is no different to the students of that time. Many of these hobbies (including working out, knitting or baking, for instance) gave people a sense of determination, commitment, and a desire to improve. These are qualities that 2023 graduates will take with them into the world of work and could be invaluable to employers.