University Graduates faced with unemployment amid ...

University Graduates faced with unemployment amid Covid-19 economic downturn

University graduates are at risk of unemployment as they graduate into a job market where supply exceeds job demand. 

This comes as Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.5% in July 2020, making it the highest jobless rate since November 1998 as reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 

University graduates have become increasingly worried that they will be unable to find work in their chosen field. 

Carlos Nonchez is one of the estimated 340,000 students estimated to graduate from university by the end of 2020. He is graduating with a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.

Before COVID-19 hit, he had hoped to be accepted into a graduate program working as an equity analyst in a major financial firm. 

“With COVID-19, entry level roles became unsurprisingly scarce. In particular, financials started to experience market distress, which leads me to believe they will reduce their graduate intake as part of their risk management strategy”, he said. 

To try and find work after he graduates, Carlos has shifted his focus from major financial businesses to more boutique financial firms in the hopes of getting a graduate position. 

“I am currently applying to several of them [boutique financial firms] as a graduate”, he commented. 

In March, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s analysis showed that for recent graduates, their chances of finding full time employment have fallen more than 10% since 2008. 

Global projections estimate that the fallout from the COVID-19 induced economic crisis will take a few years to recover from. According to the Lowy Institute, in a post COVID-19 world there being significant changes to the global workforce, impacting graduates seeking to head start their career. 

In a recent analysis report, the Lowy Institute’s John Edwards commented that: “While unemployment will be the principal domestic problem, the changing global context will also shape the Australian economy for years to come”. 

This shift in the global workforce will likely impact university graduates’ job prospects, income earnings and their quality of life in the long term. 

For Carlos, embracing opportunities whilst at university has helped keep him optimistic about his future employment prospects.

“[The] good thing about hard times is that it makes us think about what is really important to us in our short-term plans”, he said. “The high competition in the market has pushed me to go out of my comfort zone by encouraging me to get involved in community projects, leading teams at Uni and becoming more well rounded”.