Here’s how graduates really feel about their job prospects

Amy O'Neill
Amy O'Neill

Despite being hit hardest by the pandemic, Gen Z are feeling more optimistic about the job market than any other UK age group.

As social distancing restrictions begin to loosen, a report by LinkedIn found that 62% of UK workers are feeling confident about their future job opportunities.

However, this statistic jumps to 74% among young people aged 16 to 24 (“Gen Z”). Included in this age group are the majority of UK graduates and junior-level professionals that are now looking for more diverse and flexible job roles.


So, what does that mean for the future?

Well, according to career coach Colleen Sauer, “What people are really looking for now is flexibility.” A few years ago, flexibility wasn’t even on the map in terms of conversations about employees’ priorities, but now, after over a year of living through a pandemic, flexibility, work-life balance, and employee benefits are the fastest-rising attractors for many young people entering the work force – both in the UK and abroad.

The uncertainty and lack of long-term job security triggered by the Covid-19 crisis has also led many UK workers to reassess what they actually want from a job; with many graduates and tech-savvy workers pivoting into emerging industries, freelancing, or starting their own business. In a separate study from EY, 65% of Gen Z respondents said that they hope to be running their own business by 2030.


Why are ‘Gen Z’ suddenly so confident?

The same EY report found that young people’s confidence in technology and automation has greatly impacted their sense of preparedness for the future, as well as their willingness to try out new roles. Generally, they’re looking forward to shifting work norms, and don’t feel as tied down to location-based roles as older age group. If remote working continues as the “new normal”, then Gen Z are more than willing to spread their wings.

In our own survey, GradTouch found that the prospects of a more virtual hiring process also didn’t phase Gen Z; with 31% of the 2,878 current university students surveyed feeling positively about virtual interviews. This allows them to better prepare themselves for their interviewer’s questions and removes any in-person related anxieties.

As a final message to Gen Z jobseekers, Asheesh Advani (collaborator of the EY report) noted how encouraging it is to see just how ready young workers are to face the future: “Young people recognise that the next few years will be challenging, but their optimism soars when looking 10 years ahead […] For Gen Z, connecting academic work to the real-world, through projects, role models from industry and problem-solving, is paramount when it comes to working towards a smooth transition from school to work.”

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