As coronavirus changes job market, graduates work to adjust
UH’s upcoming and recent graduates are adjusting to many changes in their job searches after the new coronavirus outbreak has shaken up the hiring process and created a need for social distancing.
As the coronavirus spreads, companies are forced to find a substitute for the face-to-face hiring process, and jobs that can’t be done from home are now facing unique challenges.
Some students, like political science senior Nimra Zubair, have already seen the effects roll in.
“I was ready to start working, and the day before I was going to go in they called me and told me that I would have to wait for two weeks because they’re working with the most essential employees only,” Zubair said about a wealth management job she was set to begin before her May graduation.
Working remotely, for those who have the opportunity and resources to do so, comes with its own changes that employees will have to adjust to. Some students already part of the job market believe this transition will affect their productivity.
“It is refreshing for one or two days, but with family and pets, it is more difficult to focus on action items and academic deadlines,” said electrical engineering junior Arash Shariatzadeh in an email. “I would prefer to study on campus and work on my worksite. Given the situation, it may take a while and some adjustments for most of us.”
Graduates and students who obtained internships and jobs before the outbreak are working to get acclimated to performing their jobs from home, and some have found that some occupations — particularly those that rely mainly on digital tasks — work better remotely than others.
“With the nature of my specific position being in an office setting, I am confident remote work isn’t a hindrance to my ability to get my job done,” said supply chain management graduate Gabriela Velasquez in an email. “That’s obviously not the case for all jobs and even for certain fields within my own major.”
Companies are adapting in various ways to COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the virus, depending on the line of work they’re in. Companies involved in travel and tourism, trade shows and business conferences have all been affected, as well as manufacturers that haven’t received vital parts from China, according to USA Today.
An employment forecast by Bill Gilmer, economist and director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the Bauer College of Business, estimates that Houston could lose almost 44,000 jobs by the end of 2020, with a potential for figures to look much worse through the second and third quarters of the year.
Job applicants who have scheduled interviews may find that their potential employer now prefers to hold the meeting virtually.
University Career Services has already made the switch to online for their on-campus interviews, in which employers would, under normal circumstances, use the department’s interview suites to meet with multiple students for an open position or internship.
For those who are in the middle of their job search, Cougar Pathway, the online platform provided by UCS, is available to all students and alumni who have graduated less than six months ago. Students can access the platform through AccessUH.
“From our perspective, employers are still posting jobs in Cougar Pathway and engaging with our office. Depending on the industry you may see some furloughs or less job openings,” said assistant director of employer development and relations at UCS Caitlin Deis in an email. “We are not aware of any hiring freezes, at this time.”
To adapt to the University’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, Cougar Pathway now provides scheduling for virtual career counseling appointments. UCS also offers live chats for quick resume reviews, career advice, and Cougar Pathway can be used to search for and apply to jobs and attend workshops or meet-and-greets with employers virtually.