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72% students prolong studies to improve their career prospects: Survey

Repercussion of the pandemic can still be felt as the 2023 Global Graduate Outlook Survey finds how Covid-19 changed students' career path and confidence in the job market


Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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A survey found that many students feel that the pandemic had a negative impact on their long-term career plans, leading them to reassess their career aspirations, and even extend their time in education to improve future career opportunities.

The 2023 Global Graduate Outlook Survey conducted by CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals, surveyed 9,437 global participants, out of which 1,000 respondents were from India, who were either pursuing or had recently completed their bachelor’s degree (in the last three years) between the ages of 18-25 to find how the pandemic impacted their career paths and long term career goals.

Post-pandemic career path reassessment

The survey found that the pandemic prompted 64 per cent of graduates to rethink their career paths or desired sectors. 63 per cent stated that Covid-19 has negatively impacted their long-term career prospects and 72 per cent of Indian graduates are also more likely to prolong their time in education to improve their career prospects compared to their global counterparts at 56 per cent.

Among Indian graduates, almost 75 per cent of respondents believe that pursuing a degree was worth it, and 83 per cent acknowledge that their career prospects have improved as a result. They also recognised the importance of higher education in relation to the job market (50 per cent) and the influence that certifications teaching job-ready skills, such as data science, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence, can have on employment prospects (49 per cent).

Growing interest in finance and investment

According to the survey, 25 per cent of global respondents now believed that the field of finance offered one of the best career prospects. This is a nine-percentage point increase from the previous survey conducted in 2021.

Among Indian respondents, 32 per cent of graduates expressed confidence in pursuing a career in finance, nearly doubling from 17 per cent in 2021. Sectors such as architecture & construction and law have experienced a decline in confidence since 2021, with figures dropping from 15 per cent to three per cent and six per cent to two per cent, respectively.

“Despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, students and recent graduates across the world feel positive about their career prospects, most notably in finance, which now enjoys the confidence of more graduates than any other profession,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, President, and CEO, CFA Institute.

Confidence in the job market and leveraging social media

48 per cent of Indian graduates participating in the study expressed confidence in finding a job in the current economic environment. The survey also showed that Indian graduates had a higher tendency (39 per cent) than the global average (31 per cent) to leverage social media platforms to enhance their professional presence and improve their career prospects.

77 per cent of Indian graduates also consider themselves to have better career prospects than their parents’ generation.

“The increased aspirations of Indian graduates is a positive sign and is a symbol of optimism in the economy. It is also noteworthy that more and more Indian graduates are understanding that growth in career and compensation requires professional development and upskilling,” said Arati Porwal, Country Head, India, CFA Institute.

Prioritising salary and social impact

More than half of Indian respondents (55 per cent) stated that they prioritised a good salary when considering potential employers, surpassing other factors such as training opportunities and a flexible working environment. Nearly 68 per cent also considered it important for their profession to have a positive societal influence, surpassing the global average of 49 per cent. Graduates find a career as a teacher as offering the most positive societal and environmental contribution, followed by social workers and doctors.

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First Published: Jun 22 2023 | 6:14 PM IST

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