To our fellow 2020 graduates
For a generation that has never experienced a crisis before, COVID-19 feels like a punch to the gut. A wake-up call to a harsh reality that our parents so desperately tried to shield us from. The boom gone, the party over, the employee market history — not a day goes by without reading about yet another wave of company lay-offs. As we graduate into the worst job market since 1929, we are gripped with the kind of angst that most of us didn’t know before. What am I going to do with my future? Who’s going to hire me? In retrospect, the pre-Corona world looks like a face-tuned, “slumber”-filtered selfie intended for likes and emoji-laden comments on Instagram. We felt entitled to jobs, self-fulfillment, and work-life balance. Today’s reality, though, seems indifferent towards our wants and needs.
The pre-Corona world looks like a face-tuned, “slumber”-filtered selfie intended for likes and emoji-laden comments on Instagram.
With growing uncertainty, we looked for reference points in past crises and reached out to our network for advice. We founded antsy.eu not as an answer (obviously) but as a response to the feedback we received and the gaps we identified:
1. Look for opportunities
Yes, graduating into the current job market quite frankly sucks. However, instead of generalizing the problem, we’re using data to identify hiring trends of fast-growing companies that show resilience towards the crisis. While the overall number of open positions from German startups has decreased by 45% since March, we’re seeing accelerated hiring in industries such as artificial intelligence, health care, and e-commerce. High in demand are people with technical backgrounds and experienced hires. Career coaches and HR professionals also suggest leveraging the extra downtime during the crisis to learn new skills. It’s been amazing to hear from peers who are taking online courses on AI or coding to improve their chances in a more competitive job market.
2. Step out of your comfort zone
If the startup ecosystem hasn’t been on your radar before, now is the time to put it there. The startups that survive will have all the right ingredients to proliferate and succeed: agility, resilience, and innovation. antsy.eu exclusively focuses on the European startup ecosystem, because we believe that this is a sector that will come out of the crisis stronger than ever, as it navigates and leverages disruptive forces better than traditional industries. Some of the most iconic companies, including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and WhatsApp, were founded during a recession. The pandemic might just be the system shock needed for companies to accelerate change and innovation.
3. Forget Silicon Valley and China
Okay, maybe “forget” is not the right word. The point is more to focus on our home turf, Europe, which hosts a startup ecosystem that has seen tremendous strides in recent years. Even more surprising was it for us to find out that there isn’t a platform that facilitates the job search and increases transparency in this sector. So we built it ourselves and invite anyone interested to join the community for free. We won’t deny that Europe has a lot of catching up to do (mostly due to lack of funding, although we’ll restrain from launching into a tirade at this point), but the potential is vast. With massive lay-offs and work visa regulations in the U.S. likely to become stricter, even americanophiles like us will prefer to look for jobs on this side of the pond.