Navigating the 2024 Job Market: A Graduate's Guide in the AI Era
Many of us look for a new role in the New Year. But since the launch of ChatGPT in late 2022, and the subsequent influx of applications built on generative AI technology which claim to effortlessly create, analyse, and interact on our behalf, how have job roles changed and what kind of skills are employers seeking from the latest cohort of university graduates?
After the pandemic, we saw a steady growth of new opportunities, however, salaries and vacancies in the UK have fallen significantly in the last six months according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
Therefore, I turned to OpenAI and asked ChatGPT if my job as a writer was doomed. No, my career is not 'necessarily doomed. However, the landscape of work is undeniably changing, and with it, the skills and adaptability required to thrive.'
It's not a bad response for a chatbot.
Emotional intelligence, creativity and critical thinking are essential skills in today's job market.
While studying and working with AI technology is becoming more common, it is evident that graduates and employers still prefer their human colleagues. According to the Cengage Group’s 2023 Graduate Employment Report, more than 59% of employers say that the growth of AI has prompted them to prioritise different skills when hiring, with 66% saying they are now looking for “uniquely human” skills and that previous job experience will become more important in hiring decisions.
Employers are looking for new hires with “soft skills” who have emotional intelligence, creativity, negotiation, critical thinking, and communication with the ability to work with the assistance of AI.
The Cengage Group revealed that only 41% of graduates said that their program taught them the “soft skills” needed for their first role. More than 58%of graduates said employers needed to work more closely with colleges and other learning programs to develop educational courses that teach students the key “soft skills” they would need in the workplace after graduating.
Many students go on to find internships or apprenticeships to learn the essential “soft skills” required in professional working environments. However, more than 35% stated they did not receive any guidance from their universities in finding their work placements.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the rise of AI will affect 40% of jobs worldwide. Universities and educational platforms must evolve to meet the shifting demands of the current job market.
Tougher regulations for universities to get students employment-ready.
The UK Office for Students announced new regulations which will see universities face sanctions if not enough graduates secure employment within 15 months of completing their studies. Universities can be fined up to £500,000 if 60% of graduates in a particular subject fail to find “high quality” work, set up a business, or continue their higher education.
To prepare students for success, universities are working with learning platforms that improve student retention rates as well as graduate employability without adding additional workload to staff members.
Technology is helping students develop the skills required by their future employers.
I met with PebblePad to discuss their work with The University of Bedfordshire, where they are developing an institutional programme that helps students work with peers worldwide and develop their “soft skills.” PebblePad aims to support students throughout their higher education and beyond by providing ongoing feedback and assessment for the best learning outcomes. Students can create workbooks and placement portfolios to showcase their academic experience for different audiences by embedding videos, audio, and links to add depth to their job applications. PebblePad is preparing students for careers that have not been invented yet. AI technology and rapid digitalisation are changing the skillset needed to perform many jobs.
The PebblePad Careers Readiness Report showed that more than 34% of students say they do not know what “soft skills” they need for the workplace.
The tech industry has drastically changed the job market, and graduates must understand the new work landscape. AI software may replace certain roles, but it can also create new opportunities, especially in fields that require empathy, problem-solving, and adaptability.
Graduate Job Sites
You can prepare for success after graduation by researching the job market early. Here are four of the best platforms for finding a graduate role:
If you want to find a career in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, then check out Work In Startups. You can find unique opportunities and gain a ton of “soft skills,” often in a shorter timeframe compared to a traditional corporate role.
You are going to spend 30% of your time at work, that is why it is important to find a job you enjoy. Give A Grad A Go is one of the leading UK graduate recruitment agencies, with over a decade of experience in early career recruitment, working with some of the fastest-growing Startups and large multinationals.
Milkround is your go-to student and graduate career resource with hundreds of internships, schemes, and graduate jobs. By registering with Milkround, you can receive personalised job alerts matched to your career preferences.
GradSmart is changing the game with personalised job matching. They highlight graduates' interests, and unique skills and ask you to complete a questionnaire about what you want from your dream job. The GradSmart platform introduces graduates to companies and roles and eliminates the need for cover letters.
The future of the job market may be uncertain, but seen through the lens of increased productivity, AI in the workplace can be an exciting opportunity for graduates.
Melissa Lawford. (2023). London becomes redundancy capital of Britain. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2023/11/29/downturn-tech-construction-london-redundancy-capital-jobs/
Cengage Group. (2023). Cengage Group 2023 Graduate Employability Report: AI Joins the Workforce. Available at: https://cengage.widen.net/s/nvd6ghd8vl/final-cg-employability-survey-report-july2023
Mauro Cazzaniga; Florence Jaumotte; Longji Li; Giovanni Melina; Augustus J Panton; Carlo Pizzinelli; Emma J Rockall; Marina Mendes Tavares. (2024). Gen-AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work. Available at: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/Staff-Discussion-Notes/Issues/2024/01/14/Gen-AI-Artificial-Intelligence-and-the-Future-of-Work-542379?cid=bl-com-SDNEA2024001
Jodie Young. (2022). New graduate employment regulations from the UK OfS- what will B3 mean for you?. Available at: https://cms.pebblepad.co.uk/blogpage.aspx?id=ff780312-d4be-4327-920c-9f927c6a57de&div=cdc73c5b-7bfc-4c71-94c6-99cf031f22b7
Office For Students. (2022) OfS sets new expectations for student outcomes https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/news-blog-and-events/press-and-media/ofs-sets-new-expectations-for-student-outcomes/
Kristalina Georgieva. (2024). AI Will Transform the Global Economy. Let’s Make Sure It Benefits Humanity. Available at: https://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2024/01/14/ai-will-transform-the-global-economy-lets-make-sure-it-benefits-humanity#:~:text=The%20IMF%20analysis%20captures%20both,to%20impact%20high%2Dskilled%20jobs