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Class Of COVID-19: Graduates Struggle Through The Pandemic

The coronavirus has translated into a lack of jobs for those recently earning degrees, who’ve had to get creative and find alternatives.

The spring college graduation season will soon be upon us. No matter the country, graduation day is a joyful occasion, when an important period of anyone’s life is over and a new one is beginning. However, for the past year or so, such celebrations have often turned sour, due to a difficult job market.

While millions of people worldwide continued graduating during the pandemic, they now face a reduced, changed and complicated world where finding a job is more difficult than in previous years.

“It is perhaps the worst scenario possible for those of us who are graduating, as almost all work opportunities have stopped,” said Ricardo González, who got a degree in communication and advertising from the Universidad de las Naciones, in Veracruz, México.

The socioeconomic context of this situation shows up in high unemployment figures and a lack of opportunities due to reduced salaries of employees that would have been inconceivable some years ago. Many companies are unable to earn the needed income to stay afloat.

Many young people have chosen to work remotely as they have the technological skills to help them advance through adversity. (Chris Montgomery/Unsplash)

“Many businesses are not hiring. On the contrary, they are laying people off,” said the recent graduate.

In Mexico alone, more than 12.5 million workers were left without a regular source of income due to the health measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Many recent graduates have chosen to continue online training to stay up to date, but not all can afford such remote learning.

One factor that does benefit these modern graduates is their innate technological ability, due to their upbringing during the digital era. Many businesses continue to expand online, so the most technological savvy may find new opportunities there.

“Despite the situation, you have to maintain emotional stability and, above all, a positive attitude. Moreover, there is the chance to become an entrepreneur,” said González. “Fortunately, I have the support of my family, who bear all of my expenses. I weep for those who do not have support such as mine.”

Data from the International Labor Organization shows that one of the biggest global concerns is the alarming rise in the unemployment rate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Latin America alone, the number of unemployed has reached 41 million.

The employment situation has been very frustrating for young people who have just graduated from university. (Siora Photography/Unsplash)

There is a great demand for work by people who need to maintain their families financially. These people’s ages range from 18 to 26 years. However, there is hope that the situation is getting better.

“One way the situation may improve is if the federal government takes action to tackle and solve the health crisis, which in turn will lead to an improvement of the country’s economic situation,” said Horacio Barradas, a Mexican sociologist from the Universidad Veracruzana.

Also expected to boost the job market for this year’s upcoming graduates are a gradual loosening of lockdowns and travel restrictions, along with a continuing roll-out of vaccines.

(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez; edited by Matthew B. Hall)