2 in 5 College Grads Fear for Their Careers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

job redundancy

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 more specifically, has affected the workforce in myriad ways. Workers are having to adjust to the new normal, from fully remote workdays to balancing their schedule with those of family members and housemates.  And many college grads fear for their careers and their future.

With so many losing their jobs and the stock market regularly looking quite chaotic, it’s safe to say this pandemic is an economic catastrophe. With more businesses closing or furloughing employees, finding a job right now could be difficult.

In a new study  that surveyed 1,009 respondents who had attended or were attending college regarding how they feel about the CARES Act and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their outlook on the job market.  Now more than ever, college grads fear for their careers.

Post-Grad Predicament

Prior to the pandemic, the value of higher education was already constantly debated as an increasing number of graduates shared stories about the difficulties of finding a well-paying job with their degree. Now, with the pandemic in full force, predicting what the future holds for graduates has become increasingly challenging.

Sentiments aren’t running high for those who’ve earned their degree and are looking to enter the workforce. College Finance’s study finds 42% of the graduates with student loans expect their job prospects to be negatively impacted by COVID-19. Thirty-nine percent felt worried about their long-term career goals.

It appears as though their worries aren’t baseless, though. The top experts are currently debating whether the post-pandemic labor market will be able to accommodate all the incoming graduates looking for employment. Graduates will not only be competing against other recent grads but also those who are looking for reemployment after a layoff or furlough.

Employed, But Uneasy

College Finance’s study also reveals that even graduates fortunate enough to still be employed are worried. Approximately half were concerned about their job security in their current position, the stability of their current employer, or their career growth with their current company.


Although these respondents remain employed, 42% were concerned with their value to their current employer. Unfortunately, despite an employee’s demonstrated value, the economic toll of the pandemic is inescapable. Coronavirus-related layoffs have become a regular occurrence, and it seems that no one is immune. An increasing amount of businesses are coming to find their staff reductions are not as temporary as they once thought.

Economic Impact of COVID-19

No one could have predicted that COVID-19 would ravage the world as it has. Finding a fulfilling job that’s able to sustain a certain quality of life was difficult enough under more normal economic conditions.

Now, in a market overturned by a global crisis, 65% of graduates not currently employed in a field related to their major express concern over being able to find work in their desired career path in the future. Forty percent of these same graduates are planning to stop their job hunt entirely.

With all of the compounding factors brought on by the spread of COVID-19, anxiety around career choice seems to be on the rise. More than half (60%) of graduates currently not employed in a field related to their major felt concerned over whether they’d chosen the right career path.

Providing Relief

Unease and frustration with the current state of affairs are completely justified in such unprecedented times. Though it’s safe to assume no one is presently living an ideal situation, the passing of the CARES Act has provided some relief.  Some 63% of respondents felt less stressed, 62% less anxious, and 52% less depressed.

While the CARES Act has allowed for much-needed help, graduates looking to enter the workforce, and even those currently working, can take measures to educate themselves on the resources available to them as well as future relief legislation.

This guest post was authored by Maya Siman

Maya Siman, a content writer for CollegeFinance.com

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.