The impossible job market for students

For young people around the world, finding a job after graduation has become much more difficult. Strong competition, little professional experience, a pandemic and the recession it caused have made it increasingly difficult for young graduates or even current students to navigate the job market. What is more concerning, however, is the new phenomenon presented to current students, where they feel pressured to have pre-graduation work experience in order to fulfill qualifications that their degree no longer verifies.

If you are a recent graduate, your new degree should serve as proof that you have acquired the skills necessary for an entry-level job in the field of your choice. However, 74 percent of employers said workplace experience is important or essential when hiring young people. Additionally, if you are a student, you will more than likely be asked to fit internships into your academic schedule, which wouldn’t be counterproductive if these companies weren’t looking for interns that come with it. at least one year of professional experience.

Many journalism internships require students to have newsroom experience – except that in their eyes, working in your student journal is not enough. You must have successfully landed an internship or entry-level position while working hard as a full-time student and possibly balancing a position in your student journal.

The dichotomy is almost funny, you need work experience to get a job, but you need a job to get work experience.

This hiring model has real effects on current students and graduates. The unemployment rate for young university graduates exceeds that of the general population, and about 41% of recent university graduates are underemployed. This means that college graduates are in jobs that don’t require a college degree, according to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

This is almost absurd when you consider that students often pay more than $ 100,000 for four years of education that is supposed to help them land a job in a job market that will only find them worthy if they start giving up their jobs. free.

Not to mention, in an economic climate where young Americans were already facing higher levels of unemployment, COVID-19 only added to that stress. Unemployment rate of young workers aged 16 to 24 have increased from 8.4% to 24.4% from spring 2019 to spring 2020. At the same time, the unemployment of their counterparts aged 25 and over fell from 2.8% to 11.3%.

Luke Pardue, Economist at Payroll and Benefits Services Provider Enthusiasm, told the insider, “Hiring rates typically for this cohort of workers typically increase in May and June as new graduates take jobs after graduation, but in 2021 we found that job growth remained weak. during the last two months. “

During times like these, it seems almost cruel to expect that students who apply for mostly unpaid internships will also have the required work experience. These internships are meant to be that bridge in which students gain experience before graduation. If we make them inaccessible to students without these experiences, they are left in limbo.

Personally, I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Part of me wants to sacrifice my time in class to find an entry-level job that will provide me with some form of stable income. The other part of me wants to focus on my career by getting an internship which will also take most of my time and not pay me, but maybe help me with future career opportunities. However, this feeling is not isolated, as the labor market makes it seem impossible to move forward.

There is also an argument to be made that unpaid internships are immoral and should not exist since companies essentially exploit students for their skills and work. What’s more, according to the atlantic, they also distinguish low-income individuals who simply cannot afford unpaid internships and miss out on these career stepping stones.

However, it makes no sense to turn away recent students and graduates who are more than likely paying millions of dollars to acquire the skills needed in entry-level jobs. Jobs that are made to give them the experience they need to climb the financial ladder. It shouldn’t be impossible to find a job with training on your resume.

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