How COVID-19 is impacting graduate recruitment around the world

You may have seen articles in the UK press about how coronavirus is affecting the UK graduate job market.  Broadly speaking it’s a mixed outlook, with some sectors like hospitality badly affected whereas others, like healthcare and social work, are more robust. You can read a useful summary on Prospects.

Photo by MOLPIX

At Bristol, one in four of you now are from overseas, so we’re actively using our relationships with global recruitment platforms and employers to collate information on job markets outside of the UK.

It’s not easy to draw globally applicable conclusions, because each country’s situation depends on so many factors, such as the spread of the virus, the type and adaptability of the sectors making up the job market, and how healthy the underlying economy is. And your value as a returnee depends to an extent on how rare a commodity an international education is in your home country marketplace.

We can however share some research on Chinese and Indian markets – the two major economies which UNCTAD has predicted will be least exposed to recession – as well as point you to likely sources of information in other countries.


Recruitment platform Lockin China has found that whilst in some industries there is a reduced demand for recruiting overseas talent, such as international trading, finance, banking and manufacturing, other industries such as IT, computer software and electronics industries have seen increased demand.

The internet industry is seeing high growth: e-commerce and its related industries (online shopping and online entertainment) such as live streaming, logistics and video games; online services for distance learning and working from home – cloud office support, video conferencing services and software. The Chinese government is also looking to start companies in this space.

As the Chinese government focuses on rebooting the economy, state-owned enterprises and central enterprises are likely to offer more employment possibilities. On the other hand, due to the slowing of economic growth and COVID-19, start-ups which used to rely on investment from venture capital are at risk.


KPMG’s report Potential impact of COVID-19 on the Indian economy doesn’t examine graduate recruitment specifically, but does explore in detail how the coronavirus could affect key sectors, with impact on labour force part of that analysis (e.g. high impact for aviation and tourism, low for transport and logistics). KPMG also highlight seven ways they believe the Indian (and global) business landscape will shift, some of which – like localisation of supply chains, and the (further) rise of digital  – provide students and graduates with useful pointers for focusing their search efforts.

Graduate job platform GradConnection, in their blog post Strategies for Persevering Through COVID-19 While Engaged in a Global Job Search, report that the majority of employers in their global network (predominantly within Australia, China, India and the Asia Pacific region) are continuing to hire.  The most actively hiring sectors within India are communications, computer science, engineering, education, and media and advertising.

Around the world

To access the latest labour market intelligence in your country, take advantage of the worldwide Chamber of Commerce network. Many Chambers are surveying their business membership to understand how they are being affected by the pandemic and publishing the results of these labour force surveys on their websites. Just search “your home country Chamber of Commerce”. Do also read our recent blog post Chambers of Commerce: the successful job hunter’s best kept secret for advice on engaging with these valuable organisations.

Taking control of your future

It’s important to keep informed about labour markets, but it’s easy to lose heart in the current climate, and while you can’t control the economy, you can take control of your future:

  • Stay open-minded and flexible – you can extract value from many types of job
  • Sign up to GradConnection to find jobs and internships in many countries around the world
  • Keep using our resources and contact us via Ask a question – we are here to help!