The Class of 2023 is graduating into an economy transformed by the pandemic, rapidly evolving technology and potentially destabilizing levels of inflation.
According to a new survey from Handshake, an online recruiting platform that connects students and employers, this year’s graduates are adjusting their job search expectations accordingly and entering the workforce with a mix of confidence and trepidation.
To balance today’s economic uncertainties, members of this year’s graduating class are applying to more jobs in a wider range of industries and with fewer geographic limits; the survey found that the average number of job applications per respondent was 14, compared to 11 in 2022. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they were open to industries outside their primary fields of study, and 71 percent said they would move to a different city for a job.
After two and a half years of at least partially remote learning, the Class of 2023 expressed preference for a hybrid job over one that was fully remote or in person. Seventy-two percent said a hybrid arrangement was ideal, and more than half said some face-to-face interaction with co-workers and employers would help their career. Just 12 percent said their ideal arrangement was full-time in person, while 16 percent favored a fully remote job.
When forced to choose between full-time in-person and fully remote jobs, the respondents were evenly split on their preferences.
According to the survey, this year’s graduates feel prepared for technological work, even if they did not major in a related field of study. Eighty-five percent of 2023 graduates majoring in nontech fields indicated experience with such skills as data analysis or information technology, and over three-quarters expressed interest in learning new tech skills to boost their employability.
Student respondents were less united in their feelings about the impact of generative artificial intelligence like ChatGPT on their economic futures. While 60 percent said they believed AI would affect their professional field over the next decade, only 40 percent said they were “not at all worried” about its impact on their job prospects; another 8 percent said they were “highly worried,” and 36 percent were somewhat worried.