The jobless challenge continues

It’s time we stop taking respite, or even equate, that unemployment scenario in the country is not as bad as it is elsewhere in some other industrialized or developed countries.

It’s also time we revisit the government’s rosy figure that overall unemployment rate has been remarkably brought down to 2.1 percent in 2012 from 4.2 percent in 2008, because the real situation in the job market just exhibits the contrary.

Unemployment among young adults is increasingly becoming a serious issue. Finding jobs is aggravating in all areas and it is only getting worse with each passing year.

As per recent figures, there are already 3,567 graduates, for instance, who completed their preliminary exam a week back and would be striving for the 538 slots in the civil service this year. This means a majority of these people should either explore for jobs in the corporate or private sector.job

And leaving aside the corporate sector, finding jobs in the private sector is not as easy as it appears so. While the sector may have been envisioned as an engine of growth, it is still in its infancy and may even take eons to reach that stage. Even if it does so, there are way too many deterrents.

While the absence of job security and good retirement benefits in the private sector are acknowledged facts, another truth is that there are no jobs even if graduates want to join so. In the wake of problems in the economy which have been dragging on for a year now, layoffs and workforce retrenchments in the private sector are becoming more frequent than jobs. Graduates know as well and their obvious choices, therefore, for civil service and corporate jobs.

And it’s also time we stop attributing or reiterating the unemployment challenge to the mismatch of jobs and skills in the job market. More than often, almost a decade for now, this mismatch has been reasoned out everywhere as euphemism for the reality – the reality being that jobs are no more aplenty.

What needs to be done or could have been done instead is that areas where mismatches are should be unearthed and subsequently jobseekers should be developed with the skills or jobs that are in demand. We may even explore jobs or skills that would be in demand, for instance, a decade from now in the country, outside or in the region.

More new technical and vocational education and training institutes that develop particular skills should be opened, and could also explore changing curriculum or syllabus in colleges and tertiary institutes and align that with the demands of the job market. The task will only be made more daunting given the country’s large young population and increasing graduates every year. We need pragmatic measures here rather than mere malarkey.


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