Across the country, recent graduates are facing unemployment due to COVID-19. The economic disruption from coronavirus is causing companies to rescind job offers and put on hiring freezes. Jobs offered to graduating college students early in the year are taken away as cutbacks and loss of customers cause companies to no longer need these future employees. Due to the pandemic, one group hit particularly hard is the airline industry and the graduates who were planning on working there.
James Hauth, 22, is a recent graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Graduating with a degree in Industrial Engineering, Hauth received a job offer from Delta Airlines as a senior data analyst in the Technical Operations Division in the middle of March.
“I got my offer in mid-March and then the next week was spring break. During that week was when Delta announced their hiring freeze because of all of the lockdowns and massive decrease in people just flying in general,” said Hauth.
Hauth’s job would have placed him as a contractor where he would work for a year at Delta Airlines before potentially receiving a full-time position. Contractor jobs were the first positions to be let go.
“The contractors were one of the first ones to go. But even a lot of their full-time employees are getting cut pay and cut hours, which I totally understand. Their industry is way harder than a lot right now,” said Hauth.
Due to the fear of a second wave of the virus and reduced revenue in the airline industry, Hauth is unsure whether or not he will be re-offered the job when the pandemic calms down.
“[Delta Airlines] did say when I contacted them that they were under a hiring freeze. They did say they will try to reach out once it’s over. But I’m not sure. If I don’t know exactly if I’ll be able to get it back. And at that point, I might have found another job already,” Hauth said.
With the virus putting his career on halt, Hauth started the job search all over again. Moving back to his parent’s house, he started taking online certification classes. He wants to show future employers that he kept himself busy and his skills sharp during the pandemic.
“It’s been harder than it was before. I’m not really hearing back from any people and I’m just not getting able to get that experience right out of school.” Hauth said, “But I’m still trying to make it possible to show progress. I’ve been taking a couple of, like, certification classes for data science online just so I can try to say I still did stuff while I was at home.”
While disheartened by the job loss, Hauth looks ahead to the future knowing that these unforeseen circumstances will not hold him back forever. He hopes that future employers will understand the gap on his resume.
“I think generally right now, everybody’s kind of understanding, you know? We have massive unemployment right now higher than anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Like, I think people are understanding that and hopefully they’ll be able to see this significant gap on my resume and know I was hit hard by the economic downturn caused by the virus,” Hauth said.