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Bocconians versus Covid-19, who is tougher?

Reading time: 6 minutes

The recent pandemic has led to arguably the biggest global economic crisis in the last ninety years, leading to an expected increase in the unemployment rate across Italy. These statistics have caused uncertainty about the pandemic’s lasting impact on the job market, and lead us to question its impact on current and future Bocconians’ careers.

The world is experiencing the worst pandemic in the last hundred years and the biggest global economic crisis in the last ninety. The labour market has been heavily impacted, and it is considerably suffering. Thousands of people have been furloughed or laid off, and hundreds of companies have blocked the hiring of new staff. On November 5th, during the press conference on the Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast, Commissioner Gentiloni said the EU unemployment rate is expected to increase from 6.7% in 2019 to 7.7% in 2020 and 8.6% in 2021. Still, no one knows what the impact on employment will be when governments’ wage guarantee programs are suspended. Today, finding a job appears to be a gigantic challenge. In these times of extreme uncertainty, making plans for one’s career and future seems to make very little sense.

What is the Covid-19’s impact on Bocconians’ careers? How are we doing in terms of employment? What are our expectations for the future?

To answer these questions, a survey was administered to 110 recent graduates, soon-to-be graduates, and students in the final year of their Master of Science degree. The survey dealt with the following topics: employment, job search platforms, satisfaction with Bocconi’s career service, and expectations for the future.

Who were the respondents?

All respondents were master’s students. There was at least one respondent per MSc program, apart from the programs in Data Science and Business Analytics and Cyber Risk Strategy and Governance. The most represented programs were International Management, Marketing Management, Accounting Financial Management and Control (AFC) (see visual 1). The class of 2020 was the most represented, with graduates and soon-to-be graduates making up to the 42% and 35% of all respondents respectively, while the class of 2021 represented the 19% and the class of 2019 – including only those students who graduated in the spring of 2020 – represented a mere 4% (see visual 2). 

Are they employed?

The 60.91% of respondents does have a job at the moment. The 71.76% of respondents of the class of 2020 currently has a job, as well as the 19.05% of those of the class of 2021, and 50% of the class of 2019 (see visual 3). Across classes, the most represented MSc programs had employment rates between 50% and 76%. Focusing on the class of 2020 and the most represented programs, the highest employment rates were recorded for the programs Marketing Management (84.62%), International Management (82.61%), and AFC (75%). Interestingly, the Master’s in Management – the second most represented program for the class of 2020 – showed a considerably lower employment rate (57.14%) (see visual 4 for more details). 

When and where did they find the job?

Most of the respondents found their current job after the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe of March 2020, representing 64.18% of those who currently have a job. Furthermore, most of the employed respondents found their present job on Bocconi’s job portal (43.28%), while 17.91% of them found it on LinkedIn and 16,42% on corporate websites.  Another 17.91% leveraged their personal networks to find a job, and only 4.48% of respondents used other channels (see visual 5).

What industry are they working in?

The respondents who have a job are working in a wide variety of industries. However, the main ones are: Consulting and professional services (29.85%), Consumer goods (16.42%), Financial and banking services (16.42%) and Fashion and luxury (7.46%) (see visual 6).

Internship or Full-time?

68.66% of those who are working have an internship contract. Focusing on the class of 2020, 67.21% are currently interning while 32.8% have a full-time contract. Among those who have a full-time contract, 61.90% have previously worked as interns at the same firm. Respondents with a full-time contract are mainly students in International Management (47.62%), AFC (23.8%) and Marketing Management (9.52%).

Related:  Tra i Leoni n. 103, May 2023

How hard was it for them to find the job?

On a scale from 0 to 10 (from extremely easy to extremely hard) measuring how hard it was to find a job, working students have given an average response of 6.34. The respondents that found their current job after March 2020 reported an average difficulty higher than that those who had a job before March 2020 (6.58 against 5.91, respectively). However, this difference is not statistically significant, given a p-value equal to 0.1313. Moreover, the students who reported the highest average level of difficulty were those in the programs of Economics and Management of Government and International Organizations (8.50), Finance (7.33) and AFC (7.18). Instead, the students in the programs in Economics and Management of Innovation and Technology and in International Management reported the lowest average level of difficulty, 5.25 and 5.68, respectively.

How happy are they with their jobs?

74.63% of respondents said that they got the job they were looking for. Furthermore, on a scale from 0 to 10 (from least happy to most happy), the average level of happiness of those who found the job before March 2020 was 7.75, while that of those who found it later was 7.47. However, the difference between these two groups is not statistically significant (p-value equal to 0.2562).

Questioned about the drawbacks of their current job, 23.88% of respondents did not report any, while 43.28% reported one, 25.37% reported two and the remaining 7.47% either three or four. The negative aspect indicated by most respondents was salary (31.34%), followed by working hours and corporate culture, both indicated by 20.90% of respondents (see visual 7).

Furthermore, 26.87% of working respondents said that they would stay at their current firm for more than 2 years, 20.90% for a period between 1 and 2 years and the remaining 52.23% for less than a year (see visual 8). However, 58.21% is already looking for better opportunities.

What about the currently non-employed?

Out of the 43 respondents without a job, 8 are not looking for one. The other 35 respondents are looking for a job and have spent, on average, about 3 months in the search process. Five of them have spent more than 5 months, with a maximum of 10 months. 60% of them are looking for opportunities either in the Consulting and professional services (31.43%) and Financial and banking services (28.57%) (see visual 9). The most of them used almost every channel available. Remarkably, the Bocconi’s job portal was the searchers’ favourite channel with the 85.71% of them using it.

How did respondents evaluate Bocconi’s career service?

Respondents were first asked to express their satisfaction with Bocconi’s career service and then to make some suggestions to improve Bocconi’s support to graduates. 42.72% of respondents were satisfied, 29.09% were indifferent and 28.18% were not satisfied. Although the largest group was satisfied, these results prove that the career service must improve and provide more support to students. More than 20 respondents made recommendations to improve the career service. Among the most interesting, some suggested to leverage more the Bocconi Alumni Community to help graduates get a job. Others instead recommended a greater focus on placement offers, and a much-needed extension of the access to the portal even beyond 12 months after graduation. Some respondents also stressed the need for giving priority to graduating students, and for a larger variety and greater number of job posts on the portal.

How do respondents see the future?

Respondents were also asked to express on a scale from 0 to 10 (from very pessimist to very optimists) how optimistic they feel about the future. The responses were distributed in a rather normal fashion, but the average response was a bit more pessimistic than optimistic, being equal to 4.91 (see visual 11). It is noteworthy that the optimism level substantially differed between the respondents with and without a job. The working respondents gave an average response of 5.22, while the others gave a response of 4.42, and this difference is statistically significant (p-value equal to 0.0490). Furthermore, concerning the recovery of the job market, respondents were rather pessimistic, with 42.73% of them forecasting a full recovery only during 2022 and 13.64% after 2022 (see visual 12).

Covid-19 is tough, but Bocconians are tougher

Although Covid-19 has caused a dramatic economic crisis that will not be over in the short term, the results show that Bocconians are tougher than the virus and its consequences. More than 70% of the class of 2020 is currently employed and 32.8% of them already has a full-time contract. Impressively, 74.63% of employed respondents said that they are doing the job they wanted to do, 23.88% have nothing to complain about their current job and 47.77% would stay working in the same firm for more than a year. The programs in Marketing Management and International Management have employment rates greater than 82% and the program in Accounting Financial Management and Control reaches an employment rate of 75%.

Related:  Editoriale December 2022 Issue

Bocconi keeps delivering a lot of value to its students, not only in terms of education but also  of placement. Indeed, while the Career Service could certainly improve, it is an outstanding result that 43.28% of working respondents found their present job right on Bocconi’s job portal.

Finally, even though Covid-19 and the hurdles of finding a job made some Bocconians more pessimistic, the data suggests that there is no reason to worry about the future. 64.18% of employed respondents found their current job after the outbreak in March 2020. Provided that no other major shock hit the world’s economy, if that 64.18% made it during the hardest and most uncertain months of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no reason to doubt that every other Bocconi graduate can successfully kickstart their career in the upcoming months.

Be strong. Be Bocconians.

Author profile

I am a Bocconi-Fudan China MIM student (class of 2020). The topics I am most interested in are Chinese politics, society, and economy, European politics and economy, sustainable & smart mobility, renewables, space exploration. In my spare time, I am a wannabe painter.

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