June 25, 2024

Is AI Reshaping Post-Grad Job Market Dynamics?

With half of job-seeking grads using AI on a regular basis and 1 in 5 using it for job interview prep, the conversation heats up about whether this trend is good for applicants and orgs or an ethical disaster waiting to happen. Millions of seniors like myself are graduating into unknown territory.

As a rising college senior and a new Glimpse intern, I’m witnessing firsthand how AI is impacting my generation as we approach graduation. The effects are extensive, influencing not just our academic experiences but also our future career prospects and daily lives, sparking a whirlwind of anxiety, excitement and transformation.

While some of my peers see AI as a productivity booster, others perceive it as a career threat, amplifying concerns surrounding this technology amidst the heightened challenges of the current job market. As a new wave of post-graduates are entering the workforce, I was curious to explore the general attitudes of job-seekers and recent employees towards AI, investigating any potential themes or correlations that could shed light on widespread perceptions.

Building on previous studies where Glimpse looked at AI’s impact in the workplace, we wanted to exclusively survey college graduates who are either actively seeking employment or have been recently employed. To achieve this goal, Glimpse surveyed 211 post-graduates aged 18–34, with respondents from the United States and the United Kingdom. Respondents were asked a series of questions related to their occupation, AI usage, predictions of AI’s impact and their general attitude towards AI. The results reveal a vast range of perceptions and distinct attitudes, alluding to the seismic shift that this technological advancement has set off.

The Impact of AI on Job Seekers

A significant 46% of respondents use AI several times a week, employing it for a variety of tasks. 21% use AI for professional use, 9% for educational purposes, and 29% for personal activities. Out of the current job-seeking respondents, 21% are actively using AI tools to optimize resumes and prepare for interviews.

With 1 in 5 job-seekers now utilizing AI in their job search, we must consider its impact on the job search process and the potential ethical concerns it raises. Some employers may see this as a sign of resourcefulness and technological proficiency, while others may view it as taking shortcuts. Regardless of the employer’s perspective on AI, it’s an increasing component to the job-searching process that warrants awareness. Hiring managers may benefit from adapting their interview techniques to distinguish genuine potential from rehearsed answers, ultimately reshaping how they identify the best talent in an AI-enhanced landscape. Alternatively, hiring managers may want to focus on uncovering candidates’ proficiency with AI, recognizing it as an increasingly valuable skill.

Overall, the survey indicates that 56% of individuals aged 18 to 24 have a positive outlook on AI. These younger post-graduates see AI as an opportunity to enhance their skills and boost their productivity. Only 6% of this age group expressed negative sentiments, highlighting a general sense of optimism.

In contrast, the 25 to 34 age group showed slightly lower positive sentiments at 50%. Additionally, 19% of this group expressed negative feelings towards AI, pointing to a collective resistance and skepticism towards widespread AI adoption. While older post-graduates exhibit slightly more skepticism, both age groups are generally hopeful about AI's advancements.

Diverse Range of Attitudes

Despite the variety of benefits and use cases, there’s a cautious optimism towards AI among respondents. Many express positive views, citing its potential for improvement and assistance in daily activities. However, concerns about dependency and the ethical use of AI-generated content are also substantial.

When asked, “What is your general attitude towards AI?” The responses revealed a diverse range of opinions, exhibiting the complexity and multifaceted nature of AI in today’s society.

Positive and Negative Sentiments

52% of respondents expressed positive sentiments, with answers including “I love it,” “Positive,” and “Extremely helpful.” These individuals see AI as a beneficial tool that can enhance efficiency and assist with daily tasks.

However, a significant number of graduates expressed concerns or skepticism about AI. I decided to dive deeper into the responses conveying negative perceptions, curious to see if there were any demographic similarities or notable themes.

Using a range of AI features available only on the Glimpse platform, I focused on  responses with negative sentiments. The dashboard dissected the data instantly and highlighted demographic commonalities among the responses. It appears that the majority of those who perceive AI negatively are white women aged 25 to 34, which presents a potential area for further study.

When conversing with Glimpse’s AI feature, the software analyzed both demographic commonalities as well as notable themes within the study. The 14% of respondents that expressed concerns were analyzed further in greater detail in the summary below. The Glimpse AI outputs actually quote respondents verbatim to get at the language people use to describe their views:

Moving Forward in an AI World

Despite the wide range of opinions, the majority of respondents recognize the potential benefits AI can offer in enhancing productivity and career prospects, as well as the inevitable impact AI will have on jobs and the job market. Younger post-graduates are more optimistic, seeing AI as an opportunity to boost their skills and productivity. However, there is a notable concern about dependency, ethical use, and job displacement due to AI advancements among a significant proportion of graduates.

The data also suggests that employed individuals are, overall, slightly more optimistic about AI than the unemployed, as 54% of the employed respondents expressed a positive attitude towards AI in comparison to 50% of the unemployed respondents. The proliferation of AI throughout the economy is inevitable, but how post-graduates perceive and adapt to these changes can significantly influence their career success.

By adopting a proactive and optimistic attitude towards AI, upskilling continuously, leveraging AI tools, and staying on top of industry trends, recent graduates can enhance their employability and thrive in an increasingly AI-driven world.

For firms hiring these graduates, understanding the role of AI in interviews as well as offering continuous training programs on AI applications can help ensure that new hires are both well-prepared and adaptable to future advancements. When it comes to the daily lives of job applicants, AI is already here. The question is, what will firms do about it?

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Grace Kaz