Students struggle to find jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Dec 10, 2021 | Headlines, News

The challenge of finding a job has been intensified thanks to the pandemic and students say they’re losing hope of getting one.

Along with the strain COVID-19 has put on the workforce, students now face a plethora of obstacles in the search for employment, and the new addition of virtual interviews proves to be a great one to many.

“It was hard doing an interview over the computer,” said 26-year-old Marcie Mingo, a student at Seneca College. “I would have preferred a telephone interview, but the virtual interviews made me feel self-conscious and there was no option like in school where I could leave my camera off.”

Mingo was a server at JOEY Restaurants before the pandemic arrived. She said many of the jobs she came across in her search for another job had to deal with healthcare but she lacks the experience and confidence to take them on.

“Hiring events seemed to pop up out of nowhere with little notice to register and most of the jobs had to do with healthcare and experience was required or I was scared to work in the field because of the COVID-19 virus,” she said.

This came with the feeling of a lack of support for students facing hiring challenges, a sense that 23-year-old George Brown College student Kingsley Brown understands well.

“When I kept applying and not getting any responses I started to be concerned,” Brown said. “I know that there were supports available, but I really didn’t know a lot about them, and it was really overwhelming trying to survive financially, pay my bills and just live the way I used to.”

He worked at the concession stand at a Cineplex theatre prior to the pandemic. He said the pressure of not finding a job and not getting any support took a toll on him.

“It seemed like everything was happening all at once,” Brown said. “The hiring challenges also affected my mental and physical health. I couldn’t focus on school the way I needed to because I was so worried about my finances. I couldn’t go for walks or attend the gym.”

While these are trying times for many, some also see this experience as a lesson.

“I really learned that many jobs and people are replaceable,” Chevon Gregory told Humber Et Cetera.

“You really have to try to broaden your skills and work experience to make yourself more attractive to employers,” said the 20-year-old Sheridan College student who previously worked as a stock person at The Bay. “I also learned that you really shouldn’t rely on one source of income because you never know what life throws your way.”