Cynthia Feind has already completed five semesters. She is studying chemistry and history to become a teacher. She is still missing seven courses before her bachelor thesis. With the beginning of the corona pandemic, her everyday life changed considerably. Lectures and project work are digital. Your part-time job in retail will be suspended for two months in the spring. Because she is at home a lot, Feind is fully focused on her studies. Your goal is to get into the job as soon as possible. Job anxiety because of the crisis? “I haven’t,” says Feind.
The Berlin student is apparently not alone with her optimism. Despite rising unemployment figures, according to an analysis by the personnel service provider Studitemps with Maastricht University, only a few students are seriously concerned about their future careers. Of 13,000 future graduates, more than two thirds are certain that they will find a job immediately after completing their studies. Of the students who are about to complete their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, the majority, around three fifths, are also optimistic. Only one in nine is skeptical about their job prospects.
Demographic change helps students on the job market
“We actually expected an impact,” says Eckhard Köhn, Managing Director of Studitemps. The fact that this does not happen would show that students definitely know what value they have on the job market. Because: Demographic change favors the situation for academic career starters. According to Köhn, around eight million skilled workers will be leaving within the next ten years. “The students know that.”
In technical professions in particular, skilled workers are in greater demand than ever before. Sectors such as logistics or the food trade are also booming in the corona pandemic. According to Köhn, many companies are now looking for good staff. “In March, you briefly thought that the world would stand still. Everyone knows by now that it has to go on somehow. “
The fact that students are more relaxed about the future also shows that a secure and stable job doesn’t seem to be that important to them. Only 15 percent said this was the most important criterion for choosing a job. Flexible working hours, a good working atmosphere and salary are more important to them.
Health care and education are becoming less attractive
On the other hand, direct effects of the pandemic can be identified primarily in the target industries. While the ailing automotive industry continues to grow in popularity, professions in education, upbringing and research are becoming less popular. Although a comparatively large number of students (12.5 percent) want to work in one of these areas later, they have been losing their attractiveness since March. The situation is similar with professions in health, care and social services. While 11.2 percent wanted to pursue their future profession in these areas in March, the figure is now only 10.8 percent.
“I actually thought that the corona pandemic would lead to more popularity,” says Köhn. The crisis apparently made it clear to the students once again that although professions in the health and education sectors are very important, they also demand a lot from those employed there and involve a certain degree of risk. “In these areas, human contact is essential,” says Köhn. A lot of overtime and sometimes poor pay do the rest.
However, student teacher Cynthia Feind is still looking forward to her future as a teacher. “I’m very confident about that.” The subject of corona and school lessons are regularly discussed in their courses. She doesn’t feel that fellow students are put off by the current situation for teachers. The student believes that schools could become a little more digital. “Students should also be able to study from home,” she says. She recently did an internship at a school – learning with a mask and minimum distance. “It works too,” says Feind.
Your impression of the corona pandemic is more that students do not fear the future, but rather have to struggle most with the here and now. Very few people worry about not having a career after graduation. But many are losing their part-time jobs due to the crisis. “That ruined our mood,” says Feind. Everyone wants to continue. The question is how? Because some livelihoods also depend on student jobs. Some friends, says Feind, moved his back in with their parents because they didn’t have the money to support them. “It’s not so nice in my mid-twenties.”
Only 13 percent want to work in the home office
In addition, all lectures will only take place digitally. Zoom conferences instead of a lecture hall. This is difficult, especially for new students. “You do project work with people you’ve never seen,” says Feind. Meetings in the library, exchanges with fellow students and professors – all of that is missing.
It is therefore not surprising that only 13 percent of those surveyed stated that they would like to work permanently in the home office later. What seemed partially unattainable at the beginning of the year has become a reality with the pandemic. For many people, working at home has suddenly shifted. There is now even a draft law for the right to work from home 24 days a year.
The students just don’t seem to want that anymore. Although flexibility is the most important employer criterion for many, three quarters of all respondents said they would rather work in the office than at home. However, Köhn admits that the students did not have the opportunity to choose a hybrid form during the survey.
Cynthia Feind can well imagine that the isolation in everyday university life has changed the dream of a permanent home office for many. In the beginning it was nice to stay at home in sweatpants all day instead of dragging yourself to the lecture hall. But that was long over.