What Awaits the College Graduates of 2020?
By Rose de la Cruz
In January 2020, a total of 2.39 million people had no jobs. That was prior to the government-imposed quarantines or lockdowns that shut down all economic, social, academic and religious activities in the country, except for hospitals, pharmacies and basic food stores and groceries.
With the protracted fight against coronavirus, lockdowns have been implemented by many governments to slow the spread of the virus. But such lockdowns had serious socio-economic consequences such as rising unemployment due to business closures that also caused massive hunger (with delayed government economic interventions) and hysteria.
It is expected that January’s unemployment level of 2.39 million would triple for the months March to June as conglomerates have scaled down their work forces—focusing initially on consultants, contract workers and probationary—while others offered generous exit packages for permanent employees to stop the financial hemorrhage.
Schools which were shut down during the quarantines also bled profusely—many of them opting to close for good—as they had no incomes (from tuitions and miscellaneous fees) and their graduating classes barely finished (with their completion rites still very uncertain). Such closures would lead to massive brain drain and loss of talent, which would also join the unemployed ranks.
FRESH COLLEGE GRADS
Traditionally, graduations are held in April and May after which time the fresh graduates scramble in the (online and traditional) jobs market hoping to get employed as quickly as possible. But since they have not gotten their diplomas and their transcripts of record yet, they stand with little or no chance to get a fair attention in the jobs market.
Besides, where would they apply as most companies have been downsizing, and even closing.
To those with specializations in information technology, communications, and back office skills (like accounting, law, medical consultations in one or all fields and education), they have better chances of putting such skills to use for their advantage. They can go home-based and connect to networks that need their skills.
For the rest, especially those with some savings to serve as their initial capital, they can set up home-based online markets and products (cooking, baking and even fashion items) that they can sell in existing online shopping portals.
Practically, all businesses that would thrive in the new business reality are those connected to the internet and those involving marketing skills.
Creative talents—music, arts, and other craft—can also be conducted online since there is now a big market waiting to be served with the difficulty in transportation and physical distancing from COVID 19.
College graduates just need to reinvent themselves, not stick hard on their academic learning, to be able to survive in the new normal from coronavirus.
There will be less jobs to apply for. But they can hone or learn new skills and innovative approaches to earn income. Short of this, the college graduate can choose to be unproductive because of COVID 19 or propel himself to success using his own talents.