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Job prospects for 2020 college grads? Coronavirus crisis says ‘Not so hot’

Written By | May 3, 2020
job prospects, college grads, coronavirus

WASHINGTON –  2020 college grads, or, under current circumstances, 2020 virtual college grads are increasingly concerned about their job prospects. And why not? At the moment, courtesy of the **han coronavirus crisis and the resulting shutdown of America, job prospects for most new grads are essentially non-existent. For now, at least.

The reason for this right now is fairly obvious. Most businesses are closed and a great many were forced to lay off their existing employees. Everyone is supposed to stay at home and watch Netflix. Until the Powers-That-Be (i.e., state governors for the most part) tell us we can have a life again.

Also Read: Remdesivir trial results ignite massive Wall Street rally. A coronavirus cure?

Jobs are hard to get when so many workers are already laid off. But things can change

Starting this week, more or less, and moving state-by-state, businesses are beginning to re-open again, bit by bit. During this New and Cautious Re-Awakening, the problem for new grads is this. As jobs open again, most employers will be hiring back the employees they had reluctantly (in most cases) laid off before they consider anyone new. Like an eager new college grad.

For this reason, I’d label real job prospects for new grads as lousy right now. Unless you have good connections, any jobs that materialize over the next few months are likely to go to the employees who held those jobs up to the time of the national shutdown. Right now, unless dad owns the company, 2020 college grads will find themselves at the end of the employment queue, likely through the end of the current year.

That’s why a great many new college grads should plan to reconcile with their parental units ASAP if there have been significant differences of opinion (read politics) in the past. And then plan for at least a 4- to 8-month stay (or more) at the Hotel Mom and Dad. It’s the best alternative until your options improve.

Strange fact: Thousands of temporary jobs are out there. Right now.

Meanwhile, ironically, there are actually thousands of new temporary jobs made suddenly available by companies that have been permitted to function during the national shutdown. This includes grocery stores, wide-spectrum stores like Walmart, home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s, hospitals, etc.

Amazon, in particular, is hiring tens of thousands of new employees right now, given the massive pressures that have been put on its delivery system in a situation where alternatives (i.e., local stores, etc.) can’t open. Job prospects here might be decent, at least as long as the current quarantine situation holds true in a number of states — particularly in blue states, at least at the moment.

So if you actually want to earn a few bucks during this downturn and if you’re near any alternatives like this, these are the jobs you want to apply for. For now. None of these jobs are likely to be what you spent 4 years earning a college degree for. But some work and some money are always helpful to anyone, particularly those who are starting out in post-college life.

Okay. None of these jobs are likely to pay spectacularly well. The work will be pretty menial and boring for a fresh college grad looking to conquer the world. And none of these jobs are likely to put you on a career path. Even worse, many of these jobs will likely terminate once the system gets back to something resembling normal.

Final note: Some great job openings may actually be available now, but mostly for STEM grads, particularly if they’ve already had some experience in research and implementation. Business Insider lists some of these areas.

Temping is not forever work

Which means, you won’t stay in one of these jobs forever. You’ll eventually have the opportunity to find something more suited to what you trained to do in college. Job prospects will improve, perhaps before the current year gives way to the new.

The reality is this. We’re in temporarily hard times. Facing this with a fresh college degree in hand is a depressing virtual conclusion to 2020’s virtual college graduation season. But if you’re one ot 2020’s thousands of college grads, if you want to make some money over the next few months, don’t be picky about the kind of work you’ll accept. Available jobs are not optimal for a college grad looking to make a career start. But if you could use some $$ over the next X months, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to latch onto one of these jobs if you can find one.

I actually graduated during some hard times myself. With advanced degrees no less. I ended up waiting tables for a year before things started to turn. I wasn’t particularly happy about it. But the tips were pretty good!

And I didn’t wait tables for the rest of my life.

Good luck to you. Things will get better. Just not tomorrow.

— Headline image:  Image via Air Force News. US gov. image.



Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17