The increasing unemployment rate among graduates from universities in Uganda has made news headlines recently. Earning a degree does not guarantee automatic entry into employment. Why is this so? Is this because the job market is getting more competitive? Or is it because current graduates do not have the required skills and knowledge and, thus, are not marketable?
There is a mismatch with what is taught at the university compared to the actual challenge that awaits the graduates in the field. Usually the University will give you the theoretical part of your Education and open up your ability to think, research and find solutions to challenges in life. This is a good foundation however; it is not enough to deliver in most organizations.
The technical skills employers are looking for in university graduates are mostly acquired on the job. Employers should be willing to train the fresh graduates in order to get the required skills. Young employees should possess organizational skills such as working under pressure and beating deadlines if they are to meet the demands of the current workplace.
The job market today needs people who love challenges and are willing to work at the job like it is their own enterprise. A skilled and competent employee is one who does not mind about the title of their job but gives it their whole as if they were the CEO.
Such a person exhibits an attitude of high ethics and integrity and has a sense of what is right and wrong. It is not true that one has to be very talented and productive to thrive in a job. Unfortunately, majority of people today looking for jobs are too raw on the basics of how to survive in a job market.
“Having a job is more than just putting figures together and speaking good English, employees should concern themselves with attracting more customers to the enterprise. Performing well at a job goes beyond the degree or qualifications.
Unfortunately, it appears that employers too are unclear about how to spot and nurture good employees. Even as there is a general concern about the quality of graduates being churned out from the university, a number of employees harp on about pointless issues, including poorly written application letters. Most employers miss the point that they are not hiring the candidate to write application letters or speak good English. Employers should look for critical skills aimed at problem solving.
The way to solve the unemployment problem, therefore, appears to go beyond merely requiring universities to equip students with relevant skills for the world today. It requires employers to recognise that good employees are made in the workplace and not in the classroom.