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A PRESENTATION

ON

“GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT
AND WHAT TO DO TO AVOID FALLING IN THE
UNEMPLOYMENT CIRCLE”

By: Elorm Oben-Torkornooo (BSc. Econs)

Date: May, 2009


PUTTING THE TERM
“GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT”
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
• The current labour force (those between ages 15 - 64) in Ghana is
estimated to be 11.3million people (www.nationmaster.com).

•A graduate is someone who has successfully completed any post-


secondary/tertiary education be it training college, polytechnic,
university, etc.

• The current unemployment rate in Ghana is estimated to be about


20% in 2008 compared with a rate of 11% in 2000. – World Fact Book.
•Unemployment is a stock concept, measuring a number of people within the estimated
workforce out of work at any point in time.

•International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines unemployed as the numbers of the


economically active population who are without work but available for and seeking work,
including people who have lost their jobs and those who have voluntarily left work.

•Traditionally the types of unemployment we have include:


•Frictional Unemployment;
•Seasonal Unemployment;
•Structural Unemployment; and
• Voluntary Unemployment.
WHO ARE THOSE CLASSIFIED AS
UNEMPLOYED?

Thousands of people seek jobs each year in Ghana:

Young people leaving school, college and university seeking work

Former workers who have taken time out of the workforce, for
instance to bring up children, seeking re-employment.

Workers who have lost their jobs, either because they have resigned or
because they have been made redundant, also searching for new jobs.

Thousands of people also lose their jobs each year in Ghana:


People who have retired.

People who leave work to look after children.

People who have resigned


People made redundant from existing jobs.
STILL UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

• Graduate Unemployment is the situation where SOME graduates


after their National Service are unable to find work to even though
they are available for work.

Graduates after National Service Labour Force Graduates gaining jobs

The Unemployed Graduate


… BUT IS GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT A FIGMENT OF OUR OWN
IMAGINATION or A REALITY?

Are educational outputs of the various qualifications determined by the actual


demand for such qualifications?

• It was estimated that about 47% of social science and arts students who graduated in
1999/2000 likely entered into unemployment, given the changes in skills demanded at
the time (Karikari-Ababio, 2006).

• The medical and computer sciences together accounted for less than 8% of the total
final year university enrolment during 1999/2000, that is, about 370 out of 4380 students.

•In 1998/1999 the output of the Computer Science Department at the University of
Ghana was only 49, compared with a total required output of 5718 (Karikari-Ababio,
2006).

•In Ghana, there is enough evidence of widespread disparity between what educational
institutions produce and what the labour market wants. This trend has led to a
‘mismatch’ between educational output and labour market requirements creating
unemployment problems in the country

The information above reveals a ‘quantity mismatch’


… BUT IS GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT A FIGMENT OF OUR OWN
IMAGINATION or A REALITY?

• (Karikari-Ababio, 2006) made an observation that unfortunately in Ghana employers


complain about the quality of recent graduates while the graduates complain of lack of
jobs.

• ‘Quality mismatch’ refers to the divergence between the type of skills graduates are
equipped with and the skill-mix required by the market (Karikari-Ababio, 2006).

For example: a new Economics graduate may not have the knowledge in the use of
computer-based analytical tools like SPSS, Microsoft Excell, etc.
There is also quality mismatch when our engineers from the universities are seen to be
sanctioning shoddy works.
Some accountants are seen not to be living up to their calling but have involved
themselves in fraudulent activities, embezzlement cases and incompetence in their
areas of operations.

The information above reveals the need for value-based, economy-need-driven,


and ICT related courses in our institutions.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS AFFECTING GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT IN
GHANA?

• Excess supply of labour over the demand for them.


 About 250,000 youth join the labour force annually, about 31% of this population
have tertiary education. This makes about 77,500 graduates per annum joining the
labour force. Out of this figure, only 5000 are employed by the formal sector. (i.e. 6.5%).
The rest survive in the informal sector or remain unemployed.

• The agricultural sector remains unattractive to the young graduate (and the
youth at large) even though our economy is structurally agrarian.
 About 54% of Ghanaians are employed in the agrarian sector in Ghana alone.,

• Attempts to promote the growth of SME’s to absorb labour have not yielded
the desired result due to several factors including high interest rates, weak
and unreliable infrastructure, etc.
 Currently interest rates are between 32% and 38% p.a. in some banking institutions.
The non-banks charge even higher interest rates than the maximum for banks.

• Skills mismatches – The Quantity and Quality Mismatch Concept.


 The Education system continues to produce graduates whose training and aspirations
do not match the requirements of modern industry
HOW DO WE AVOID FALLING IN
THE GRADUATE
UNEMPLOYMENT CIRCLE?
Graduate Unemployment Circle
ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM

I have chosen to call this approach:

The 3D Approach of Reducing Graduate Unemployment

The 3D Approach looks at a 3 Dimensional Approach to Solving the problem.

Government/National Approach

Graduate Unemployment Circle

Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach


ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM (cont’d)
Government/National Approach

GOVERNMENT/NATIONAL APPROACH
Graduate Unemployment
Circle • Radical Reform of Education:
There is the need to identify and train the youth in employment
generating sectors; so we ensure that graduates meet the
Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach requirements of modern industry.

• Radical Review of our trade policies and practices.


There is the need to shield our infant industries from unsustainable and unfair import liberalisation

• The Bank of Ghana needs to work at making borrowing costs more attractive to
the business community.
At the prevailing interest rates, business owners are deterred from any expansion and/or new projects that could
create more jobs. Reducing interest rates will encourage more entrepreneurs to borrow, thus creating more jobs for
the graduate and other skilled/qualified workers.

• The Government of Ghana and its relevant agencies must encourage guidance
and Counseling programmes for the youth
The Civic Education Service, National Service Scheme, Ministry of Education and other relevant institutions within
the government should join hands with local NGOs and corporate institutions in providing guidance and counseling
programmes for the youth. Religious bodies and the traditional systems must also encourage such programmes. The
effects of such programmes reflect in the choice of courses the youth pursue at higher levels of education.

• There is the need to manage our transitional patterns in our educational system
effectively
The National Service Scheme introduced by the government seeks to solve transitional issues that may lead to
graduate unemployment. This system only solves the problem temporarily. Longer term measures need to be taken.
ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM (cont’d)
Government/National Approach

GOVERNMENT/NATIONAL APPROACH (cont’d)

Graduate Unemployment
Circle • Ghana should join the Secretary General’s
Youth Employment Network (YEN)
Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach To ensure more pragmatic, long-term, cohesive and inclusive
policy direction for youth employment in Ghana
Youth themselves must drive the YEN process, with support
from all relevant stakeholders.

• The Government through Parliament should encourage effective youth


participation in the formulation of employment youth policies.
One of the serious problems with most of the youth employment policies and programmes has been the absence
of inputs by the youths themselves.

• The Government through the GSS needs to direct the nation in terms of labour
needs. There should be data on the labour requirements of the nations backed by
a clear sense of direction by the state through its educational policies.
ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM (cont’d)
Government/National Approach

INSTITUTIONAL APPROACH
Graduate Unemployment
Circle • The Educational Institutions need to
mainstream and partner with the private sector
Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach and other agencies to find answers to questions
such as: “How many products from our Institution are able to
progress directly to higher levels of tertiary education or the labour
market without any break?”

Such questions help the institutions to know whether or not they are doing the
right things and thus reducing unemployment among her graduates.
• Institutions should adopt Guidance and Counseling techniques in shaping the
aspirations and careers of the students and youth at large.
• While competition exists among several tertiary institutions in the country,
authorities should liaise with the corporate world to organise Career Fairs and
similar activities that expose the students to the corporate society for jobs.

• For efficient assessment of students, institutions should adopt as one of its


ways, the Case Study approach of real situations. This gives students the
exposure to real life while in class. They become less academic-oriented and
more practical-oriented.
ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM (cont’d)
Government/National Approach

INDIVIDUAL/PERSONAL APPROACH
Graduate Unemployment
Circle

Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach

• Develop a positive mental attitude about work.


 Work to learn and not necessarily for pay. Accept to be on the learning curve always, that way work become more
of an adventure.

• Study hard to build and maintain a good GPA


 A good GPA on your C.V. easily attracts the eye of the employer. It is the first impression you give him about your
level of knowledge in your course of study.

• Join organisations/clubs on/off campus that develop your academic, social,


physical and spiritual life.
 People with poor social skills are unable to blend very well in the corporate world. There is the need, however, to
learn how to draw the lines between leisure, emotions and work. This can be learnt very well at school.
 Having friends from other institutions helps enrich your social network which is a useful tool for gaining
employment in the future.

• Do an internship during the long vacations with SMEs in your area of interest.
This helps you to build a good resume before going for your first job interview.
ADOPTING THE WHOLISTIC APPROACH TO THE PROBLEM (cont’d)
Government/National Approach

INDIVIDUAL/PERSONAL APPROACH (cont’d)


Graduate Unemployment
Circle

Institutional Approach Individual/Personal Approach

• Develop the attitude of saving or investing while in school.


 For those who are entrepreneurial, there might opportunities you may want to take advantage of which require
you to make some equity contribution.
 You may also want to start your own business instead of sitting at home and doing nothing. The savings you have
made in the past will then become useful.

• Always keep the Business and Profession principle in mind.


 It is not wrong to have a business and at the same time, have a profession. One may operate a restaurant and
still be an Economist of Financial Consultant in a bank.

• There is a way of transforming your talents/passion into a business opportunity


 One thing we must understand is that many people die/develop lifestyle diseases because of stress from their
work. There is, therefore, the need to love what you do.
 It takes less energy to use your talents to work than to do things that are not your passion.
THANK YOU!