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Only 50% of the college Class of 2020 had traditional full-time jobs 6 months after graduation

When the Coronavirus pandemic started, it quickly started to impact all areas of our lives as it directly caused rapid changes in business and society. College students and recent college graduates were unknowingly about to enter 'one of the most hostile labor markets in recent history.' It is unfortunate that many recent graduates have struggled to find the right opportunities and that the kind of opportunities available were significantly altered due to the pandemic. It caused many recent graduates to change course and pursue graduate school, start their own business or change their desired job function/industry. Fortunately the job market has rapidly changed since the initial shock of the pandemic and it has become more competitive, as illustrated by the decreasing unemployment rate. This is causing more companies to welcome recent college graduates, as they continue to try to navigate the rapidly changing employment market.

"The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recently analyzed the outcomes for 563,000 bachelor’s graduates across 337 colleges and universities and found that only 50.2% of the class of 2020 had full-time jobs with a traditional employer (meaning they are not working as a freelancer or entrepreneur) within six months of graduation. In comparison, 55.3% of the class of 2019 graduates were employed within the same time frame," according to Abigail Johnson Hess of CNBC. This is an incredibly concerning figure and it illustrates a challenging time in the job market as a whole at the time, as it correlates to the surge in unemployment at the beginning of the pandemic.

“In terms of employment within six months of graduation, 2020 graduates had the worst outcomes since we began tracking with the class of 2014,” according to Shawn VanDerziel, executive director of NACE.

The unemployment rate in the United States was stable for a few years hovering around 4%, most notably at about 3.5% in February 2020. When Coronavirus struck the United States, the unemployment numbers spiked for many months after the initial shock. The unemployment rate was over 13% in May 2020 and about 11.1% in June 2020 (according to The current unemployment rate as of November 2021 is approximately 4.2% (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and United States Department). The unemployment rate is often criticized for a variety of important reasons including that it does not include people who aren't actively seeking employment, isn't a fair indicator of job creation (which has been very volatile recently) and it does not represent the significant level of underemployment that plagues the United States (which is increasingly concerning due to recent market inflation trends). Unemployment quickly shifted from stable to disastrous and businesses have been scrambling to adapt as demand in many industries have shifted, forcing them to change their staffing structures. As some businesses have began to re-hire or recruit for new talent, they have also had to adjust their practices. The increasingly competitive job market in recent months has caused many businesses to re-evaluate wages, hybrid/work-from-home options, staffing structures and benefits packages. Even though a competitive job market is generally an indicator of a healthy and growing economy, it isn't necessarily helpful for recent graduates, especially when there is an apparent disconnect between what employers may want or need in candidates versus what recent graduates can provide, especially with regards to job experience requirements.

In a world of virtual networking events, career fairs and interviews, job seekers will have to adjust to the rapidly changing climate to remain competitive in the job market. What can you do to stand out? An objective and well-written LinkedIn profile can be a fantastic tool to leverage in a job search as it can help to boost professional credibility, increase exposure to recruiters and can be used as an incredibly efficient direct application platform for a job seeker. We have created a guide to creating a well optimized LinkedIn account (written by Andrew C. Belton, MBA, Founder of Symmetrical Media Marketing and Writer for Business2Community) in the past and look forward to providing further aid by providing new resources and a brand new service!

We are proud to announce a new LinkedIn Account Consultation service that is designed to help job seekers by creating a strategy that will outline job search objectives, conduct a complete LinkedIn account review and identify optimization opportunities to boost profile engagement. Contact us today for a consultation!

If you have any questions or comments on the information mentioned in the article, feel free to reach out to Andrew C. Belton via email at

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