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The Job Sector for Graduates in Today’s Climate

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With the recent global pandemic, the economic damage to the financial sector resulted in high rates of redundancy.

The pandemic also had a significant impact on recent graduates and those who were planning on joining firms’ graduate programmes only to have them stripped away. This left students in an overcrowded job market with thousands of people applying to few graduate programme positions.

The Response of Firms

These problems have been recognised by major firms. For example, managing directors at EY commented on the overcrowded student job market and how recessions have hit those who have just left education and are looking for work, the hardest.

They have also seen an increase in applications to graduate programmes by over 50 percent from the previous year. Other large companies such as Teach First have also witnessed an increased number of applications for such programmes.

However, due to the recent vaccine rollout and the quick economic recovery, most major firms are increasing staff counts in anticipation of good years to come ahead. These opportunities are helping students who are yet to graduate and also those who have lost out. As said by G. W. Bush, creating jobs in the long run is the right answer to reducing unemployment.

The Rise of ESG Positions and PWC Prospects

One major accounting firm, PWC, is to increase its global staff headcount by adding over 100,000 staff members in the next five years, increasing its current employment numbers by 30%.

This is part of a $12bn investment in the processes of recruitment training and use of technology which will enable them to capture a significant share of the up-and-coming market of environmental, social and governance (ESG) advice.

The effect of the pandemic has made people contemplate the environment and the way that the world operates, and businesses have been thinking of methods for how to behave in a socially responsible and valuable way.

PWC also plans to double the staff and business centres in the Pacific and Asia areas by an investment of $3bn and is proposing the launch of new “leadership” programmes in both the US and Asia with a major focus on ESG.

PWC and other members of the “Big 4” (Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and KPMG) plan on increasing jobs for minorities, with 25,000 new jobs being created for minority groups in the US alone. PWC’s investment is planned to increase revenue streams in line with a more modern and broad approach to investment and advice.

Major firms are anticipating that investors will demand more social and responsible impacts from their businesses and therefore PWC, along with the ‘Big 4’, are involving ESG in all their business lines.

They plan on redefining themselves as an ethical company in order to make themselves more valuable for both clients and the world’s needs.

The new ESG market includes advising clients in more sustainable approaches from clean energy to sustainable investing, and in 2020 it had a market cap of $1bn. This new market is set to increase, creating more jobs focused on this rising area.

The Big 4 are to add ESG in all their long-standing accounting practices such as auditing, giving ESG training to all areas. This training involves preparing for an increase in regulations around ESG, and so a minimum baseline understanding of the principles and concepts are required.

As well as a focus on ESG, PWC is investing in the way it researches new technologies. It plans on developing a new technology centre in the capital of Ireland, Belfast, creating over 800 new jobs.

This will be an advanced research and engineering centre, with a focus on research in new relevant technologies and also software engineering. Staff at this technology centre will have the opportunity to take part in both client facing work and research and development. This new enterprise is boosting Belfast as an up-and-coming financial centre, giving it global presence.

Banks Introducing New Divisions to Meet Today’s Needs

This new and changing climate has not only led accounting firms to change their job roles but has also forced banks to change the way in which they invest and operate.

Banks are moving away from traditional investing to unchartered waters, and these changes come with opportunity.

With cryptocurrencies becoming a more understood and common asset, banks such as J.P. Morgan are hinting at opening a crypto-currency group with their latest hiring posts.

Others such as Deutsche Bank are moving new investments into healthcare, and plan on opening a healthcare investment banking division. They aim to double the junior headcount in anticipation of a major increase in deal flow in the near future.

The pandemic has also led companies to think about new horizons and opportunities. Not only do companies plan on expanding current divisions, but they also show promise to opening new divisions, creating more prospects for those leaving higher education.

PWC announced plans to reinvest into its recruitment process and grow its revenues by a minimum of 20 percent; this target is expressed by other major financial firms which plan on similar expansions, as businesses prepare to come out of the pandemic and increase their profits.

Today’s business decisions affect tomorrow’s job prospects. There is already a major surplus of graduate job seekers, and this year’s graduates will be joining the increasing pool of talent waiting for work.

With the addition of new jobs, a healthy recovery can be aided by increased consumer spending, as UK graduate spending makes up close to £20bn per year. Many graduates will not need to receive employment benefits, which will cause less strain on government debt.

However, if students do not receive timely job offers, they will not be able to receive an income or furlough benefits. This will leave many graduates with no source of income, which will likely cause a pullback on the economy as countries begin to recover.

Student graduates should not be alarmed by the current job situation in the financial sector. Coming out of a pandemic that caused the worst recession since the Great Depression, graduate job hunters are expected to just be chasing their tail a while longer.

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