Almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out of the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get jobs, Kelvin Balogun – President of Coca-Cola, Central, East and West Africa – has said.
Speaking at this year’s Africa Transformation Forum in Kigali, he said it is time the private sector works with governments to bring this canker to an end, saying: “We need to build our human capital to bring about the development of Africa.”
Basically this means 50% of Graduates in Africa are unemployed.
Africa has the largest “youth bulge” in the world, and the number of youth is expected to grow by 42.5 million between 2010 and 2020, says the World Bank.
Here are the reasons behind majority of graduates not getting jobs.
- They do not understand the job market! It is understandable that a vast number of graduates are clinging to a psychological-mental disorder of entitlement given to them by traditional institutions and political parties in government administrations that preach, “If you get a degree, you’ll be successful” while themselves majority of these politicians do not have qualifications but flourishing in their careers. This alone has infested majority of graduates in Africa with the sense of entitlement. “Getting this degree will get me a job, and or a career!”, “Success will come after getting a job”; where as in reality getting a degree is not something that should make us feel invincible; getting a degree should be a personal choice – a personal choice that is prepared to up-skill you in your chosen career. This gets someone to question the career industry, on the basis that question the origins of careers. The job industry is not about you (graduates), because after all there are jobs approximately for 40% of the 50% unemployed graduates, let alone the unemployable graduates without lucrative developed skills that portrays them as assets in the particular careers they want to venture in.
- Seeming that they do not understand the job market industry; they feel that the job market owes them something, it does not! They feel like the government administrations owe them jobs, they don’t! Let us be clear; because of the above reasons, graduates submit their Application Forms / Curriculum Vitaes not knowing that it is not only the “receipt” of the 3-7 years sacrifice for their qualification that will get them where they want to be in life, but the qualities brought forth by the qualification of the receipt they present. You cannot buy beers, then produce the receipt of the beers and say “Here it is, I am drunk!” it does not go like that, you should be seen drunk to be proven that you have drunk those beers. In my experience, I have received forwarded Curriculum Vitaes, Profiles and Resume’s from post graduates without content body of the email, neither without appropriate subject line. This is the highest form of self-destruction in job applications – according to expert recruiters who spend at most 6 seconds reviewing your CV. In my case, I never open a Curriculum Vitae – job application without an appropriate subject line, or professionally aligned content body that leads a recruiter to where you want them to go.
- Most graduates feel like heroes when they do menial jobs; the society celebrates them for taking a stand for their lives. No, they shouldn’t be celebrated! The qualification(s) that one has acquired doesn’t determine that one cannot do a “street cleaning job” or a “cashier job”. The problem comes as advertised to graduates, if you do such menial jobs, “you are humble”, “you are a hero!” that’s where the problem lies for majority of the 50% unemployed graduates in Africa. Let us be frank, you are not doing that menial job for the community, within that menial job you will definitely learn skills and or expertise that will advance your career journey. It is a must do for graduates; these trades have the capacity of building future leaders instead of complacent individuals who feel entitled to certain privileges, and others should not – because they do not have degrees! The fact that you were privileged enough to go to school whether by a loan or whatever means that got you to a higher learning institution and eventually got you through it doesn’t make one more invincible than the one working at a petrol station. In my case, I know for sure I got to University will grade 12 results that were poor than most of my friends who have never seen the doors of higher institution learning. It does not make me invincible or better that I managed to find myself in University neither does it give me an entitlement.
- Graduates should understand that getting experience does not mean one should get a prestigious corporation to get their working experience. It is our duty as a community to dismantle misconceptions that define graduates as peculiar than the people outside the qualification curriculums. In countries like Germany, you find graduates with MBA’s bar-tendering and doing all the menial jobs without feeling entitled to the prestigious corporations to get jobs, let alone being solely employed by government institutions. They are not celebrated at all, their communities understand that when you are young and a graduate, it is time to go out there and get every experience you may possibly can.
- I can personally attest that with the majority of the Curriculum Vitae we have reviewed; over 1500 in the past 2 years, most of these graduates Curriculum Vitae’s are like pieces of papers written by 12 year olds on an English class test in Grade 7. Where is the investment in the brand that you are – as a graduate?
All in all this is to say, being a graduate does not mean you are entitled to employment, it is your capacity to implement your self first to the development of your brand (Who you are) as a graduate, relatively to the job market industry you relate to – that will guarantee you a chance to the job market. This is another reason why majority of companies find it hard to hire graduates specifically!
One of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters has removed degree classification from the entry criteria for its hiring programmes, having found “no evidence” that success at university was correlated with achievement in professional qualifications.
Accountancy firm Ernst and Young, known as EY, does no longer require students to have a 2:1 degree and the equivalent of three B grades at A level to be considered for its graduate programmes.
Instead, the company will use numerical tests and online “strength” assessments to assess the potential of applicants.
This is why we should re-evaluate the graduate industry.
This means – getting a job and kick starting your career has nothing to do with what qualification you have. It has everything to do with who you are, you character and or attitude. That is why I personally believe that “Your qualification can take you where ever you want to be in life, but it is only your attitude and character that will keep you there.”
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change!”
Bayekeni Thenga is certified in Advanced Career Guidance, Excellence in Service, Entrepreneurship and Project Management.