Unemployment in the US has crossed 15% and increasing, up from 3.5% in February 2020 despite the $2 trillion stimulus package implemented by the government. It had peaked at 10% during the financial crisis of 2008 and 25% during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Though India does not have a similar jobs data reporting structure during this pandemic, it is easy to see that the job market this year will be the most challenging that we have seen in our lifetimes. If you have lost your job, taken a pay cut or are staring at an uncertain future, know that this is also a great time to consider a change of career.
If you are graduating from college in 2020, your batch will have a tougher time finding their first job, unlike your immediate seniors. Like the 2000 and 2008-09 market crashes, unemployment levels three months after graduation will be higher for your cohort by up to 30%. Your chances improve when you start earlier and knock more doors.
2. Job first, choice later
You will get started faster through more efforts and by taking risks. Salaries may be lower by nearly 20% and you may not fi nd jobs in your preferred domain. Prioritise getting any job to gain work experience and shift domains once the market improves. You can also work through unpaid internships or in your family business.
3. Digital skills
The job market always changes after a major crisis. This time, the change is an increased focus on online, technology and digital skills that enable workers to contribute remotely. Whatever your line of education be, you are unlikely to be considered unless you demonstrate comfort with digital tools in your fi eld of work, eg. Tally for a commerce graduate.
4. Next degree
A great option is to acquire additional certification or degrees and defer your entry into the job market. Not only are you better equipped but also the market circumstances will change. So, pursue that Masters or PhD degree right now instead of waiting for a year or two. Consider a job-worthy diploma in a related field to keep costs low.
5. Online learning
Online education though less valuable than a full-time course, is your final option to stay occupied, learn more and acquire certification. Know that ed-tech has become popular in the crisis with lots of low cost or free options. Finally, in your next job interview, you will be able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.