Saturday, January 14, 2012


It is the dawn of a new year and like many unemployed graduates hopes are soaring high. The burning desire to get a job is on the top list of every one ,most especially if you are a graduate from any of the tertiary institutions in Ghana . 
What really is graduate unemployment and whose duty is it to  get us a job?
Simply put, Graduate unemployment is unemployment among people with academic degrees. In Ghana, it is not uncommon to come across people with first and second degrees queuing  and struggling to get a job which would otherwise be considered as job for the unskilled hand. Graduate unemployment is on the increase and a group calling itself the Unemployed Graduates Association of Ghana (UGAG) has over 3,500 membership across the country( can you just imagine that!). The situation of graduate unemployment is not only a problem in Ghana, but swings across the rest of Africa; from Algeria to Zambia.
So whose job is it to provide jobs for the unemployed Graduates? Can anyone provide me with the answer?
Today, I just want to post on the challenges that face Graduates in the 21st century. My post is not intended to mock my fellow colleagues still searching for jobs, but its objective is to create a minded set that believes in the possibility and that challenge the status quo, so we can become valuable  potential employees. I wonder what that mean, ‘cause I don’t see myself as an employee.

Challenges in Securing a Job in Ghana
  •  High level of Competition
In a packed stadium almost everyone keeps his or her eye on one thing, the ball. That is just the situation at hand, too many Graduates chasing after few jobs. You  just complete university  and you have your eye on your dream job, only to  realize you are not the only person in the boat.There are  thousands of potential candidates out there  with hopes of working in the same company. When I was in my final year in the university ,almost everyone in my class had hopes of working at Ghana Atomic Energy Commission or Ghana National Petroleum Company. My colleagues who were also studying engineering  had hopes of Working at the Tema Oil Refinery  , Volta Aluminum Company or  Electricity cooperation of Ghana. So who should get the job, assuming a vacancy exists? We were all qualified and all have the relevant knowledge to perform satisfactorily. So what can you do to differentiate yourself from the rest of the crowd? You need to ensure your resume is in the top 5-10% of all resumes. I am not talking of a template kind of CV but a CV that talks to a potential employee of what you can do and what you have done. This is where the next challenge comes in
  • Lack of  Relevant Work Experience
the graduate
You met the CEO of UT Bank, he agrees to offer you a job based upon an answer to one simple question, WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR MY COMPANY?   What would be your response?
One of the sure ways to find a job in Ghana is to find a precise answer to the above question. Unfortunately, most graduates do not have anything under their sleeves to offer a potential employer. They spend years in schooling storing up knowledge and have no clue on what to do with the knowledge once they get out of the four walls of the university. Employers don’t care so much about your degree or what you studied in school. They want to know what you have done and what you can do for their company to grow.
The key advice to all graduates (and those preparing to graduate) is to seek work experience. This advice seems like common sense however gaining work experience (even if it means working for free) can help you plan out your career and gain vital experience in competitive industries. When the time comes to apply for full time work, your work experience can be the difference in setting you apart from your competitors.
  • Further Education Vrs  Job Seeking
An old  high school mate wanted to find out about a Master program from my Alma Mata. After  giving him the necessary info and who to contact, it set me thinking. This friend is now doing his national service and his already thinking of a master’s degree. I don’t have any problem with further education, but what has this person done with his knowledge from his first degree and seeking to do a masters programme. Most graduates get confused in choosing between further education and working. They want to gather relevant work experience before fine tuning their career, on the other hand, the jobs are not forth coming. What then do they do?
Do you continue to study or start straight away with the job seeking? Many graduates don’t have a choice in this matter but for those who do, continuing to study can lead to greater results long term (financial and job position) and also further help distinguish yourself apart from other graduates. On the other hand it is  better to start working ,gather the relevant experience ,get your foot in the door and later think of further education. There’s no better education then real life experience of learning on the job.

What Next?
I can go on talking on 101 challenges facing Ghanaian Graduates, but I just have one concern. Who DUTY is it , to get us the JOB? Drop me your answer.