Students and graduates are optimistic about their professional careers despite the pandemic

CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals, released the results of a survey it conducted on the career prospects of more than 15,000 college students and recent graduates ages 18-25 in 15 countries.

The results show that, globally, 58% of respondents still feel confident about their future career prospects in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report also indicates that traditionally stable areas, such as finance, remain attractive to graduates going through these uncertain times.

Respondents from all 15 countries ranked finance as one of the five most valuable specialties for finding a profession. Overall, graduates indicated that medicine / science is the most stable and attractive career, followed by medical care and education.

“Students and recent graduates are more flexible and optimistic in their prospects than ever,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, executive director of the CFA Institute.

“The pandemic forced many graduates to reevaluate their expected career paths, but they have shown remarkable resilience despite this. It is now up to companies to adapt to new workplace realities, such as hybrid workplaces, to attract and retain the young talent we need to help us emerge from the pandemic. ”

Most graduates believe that their future career will be as good or better than their parents’ generation, despite the pandemic. The results showed that those who study accounting and finance have a special confidence and 80% believe that their prospects are as good or better than those of their parents’ generation, compared with three-quarters (75%) of respondents from other careers.

Despite the general confidence, nearly half (46%) of those surveyed reported that they are reassessing their career paths in light of the pandemic; Their main concerns now include low wages in their preferred sector (26%), lack of jobs in their preferred sector (25%) and working in a sector that does not satisfy or interest them (26%).

Another major concern of students is the development of work-related skills during their careers and after graduation. Respondents shared their personal insecurities about this, with a quarter of respondents (25%) saying they feel unqualified for the job they want and 22% saying they feel unprepared for the world of work.

In addressing today’s complex job market, students and graduates see the value of higher education. Nearly nine in 10 respondents (87%) feel that improving their skills and graduate qualifications are important in today’s job market, and 57% believe that graduate qualifications and professional certifications will give them an advantage when looking for work.

This is causing significant uptake of additional study, with nearly half (46%) of graduates planning to extend their time in education.

Graduates want to make a positive impact

Working in an industry that makes a positive contribution to society and the environment is very important to recent graduates, with nearly nine out of 10 (87%) of those surveyed saying it is an important part of choosing a career.

Only 8% of those surveyed consider that being an investment professional is a career in which it could have a positive environmental and social impact. This finding shows that to retain talent, the industry must do more to educate students about the positive impact a career in investment could have.

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