According to a report cited on tradingeconomic.com, the unemployment rate in Ghana is expected to reach 4.70 per cent by the end of 2021. This is based on the trading and economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations. The report also states that: “In the long-term, the Ghana Unemployment Rate is projected to trend around 4.50 per cent in 2022 and 4.30 percent in 2023, according to econometric models.”
What does this mean to the young graduate who has just completed his or her tertiary education and looking forward to joining the labour force in Ghana? That means that the young graduate would have to compete with other unemployed graduates and a number of experienced job seekers.
But the big worry is, public education on future aspirations has not gone down well with the youth and as a result many have high hopes that as soon as they graduate from the university or right after their National service, they must at all cost be offered ‘white collar jobs’ opportunity by the government of the day. That erroneous impression needs to be corrected as a matter of urgency so that those young ones seeking to enter the university will be clear on the right path to choose in their future endeavours. That must start from the Junior High school level through to the Senior High level, and then by the time an individual graduates from the tertiary institution he or she will not be expecting any automatic employment from the government.
Education must not all be about teaching and learning in the classroom but the individual’s future aspirations should be a priority so that he or she will be guided appropriately. The end matters a lot hence its prioritization. Some courses chosen by some students to offer at the Senior High schools have no correlation between their future aspirations and the course chosen. That could not have happened if proper structures have been put in place to offer career Guidance and Counselling services to students. That had totally been ignored. Those innocent students proceed to the tertiary level studying the wrong courses just because they have been offered an admission to study in what they perceive to be big tertiary institutions like University of Ghana, KNUST, UCC, UEW and many others. Attending those schools do not guarantee one employment after graduation or National Service but the course one offered in relation to what the employer wants, not forgetting years of experience in the field of expertise is what really matters.
The way forward
The issue of joining the Unemployed Graduates Association is the most ‘useless thing to do’. I do not really blame them because as I said earlier, lack of Guidance and Counselling services in some pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions had caused the existence of such an association. To the fresh students and those about to enter Level 400 and those offering their National Service, one thing all must bear in mind is that, we are in an era where globalization is fast spreading which is gradually moving our economy from manpower economy to a more digitized economy. Robots are being manufactured to take up most of the manpower jobs. That means in no time soon, there will be massive layoffs at various workplaces rendering a lot of graduates unemployed.
The only way out is to develop an entrepreneurial skills which will help to be more innovative than just attending any tertiary institution to read any available course. Being innovative can even help one brand and rebrand the very products “the poor mother or father” is engaged in by just adding value to them and the money will start flowing beyond expectation. Before coming out from the university, one can start branding the kenkey, fruits, bread, porridge, and even salad mix traded by any family member. There are a lot of buyers out there who wants to buy your branded products so why wasting time joining associations that will not put food on one’s table even for an hour. The time has come for all to change perceptions about what kind of job is better and which does not befit. The end result should be the monetary benefit and not necessarily the suit and tie one puts on to the workplace. It is a clear fact that, the tomato and onion sellers, scrap dealers, truck pushers at the marketplaces, shop owners and others who engage in menial jobs earn more income than those engage in “white collar jobs”. They earn income every day and when accumulated at the end of the month as compared to those working in offices whose meagre salaries come at the end of the month, the former is far better.
To any Government of the Day
I understand the pressure mounted on you by the youth to provide them with employment avenues in order for them to earn a living. Those expectations where created by you the politicians. Just because a particularly political party wants power, they go extra mile in giving high hopes to offer job opportunities which after gaining power they soon forget they made those promises but, they should not forget the youth who are eager to be employed will never forget.
Now, if the only reasonable answer to the youth who is seeking to be employed is tell them ‘The Government Payroll is Full’, who made it full then? The poor structures put in place by government agencies and the quest to satisfy political party foot soldiers who are not qualified to occupy certain positions in State Institutions are the major cause of the employment woes in Ghana and making the payroll to be full. Those unqualified employees go the extra mile in effecting changes to their ages so that they can still be in office after their retirement ages had caught up with them.
The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) must set up a task force to visit all government agencies, trace their educational background starting from the year they started their primary education, visit the schools to get their Bio data and EOCO will realize that a 70-year old man or woman who had passed the lawful retirement age of 60 years is occupying an office but on the government’s payroll such a person is 45 years of age. Others also fake their degrees; so a verification of their qualifications can easily be traced from the tertiary institutions they attended. That should not be a difficult thing for EOCO to do if any serious government wants to ‘Clean the System from filth’ in order to pave way for more qualified and energetic persons with fresh and innovative minds to take over from those ‘selfish beings’ who do not want to go on retirement until they die. You visit a government institution and you see people sleeping in the offices, some appear weak and highly exhausted- a clear indication they have manipulated their ages thereby denying those who are more energetic to take up their places.
The Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) doing the above will be the best way to help to help manage the economy. Aside that, weeding those ‘self-centered’ occupants of public institutions who have decreased their ages will save the economy Billions of Ghana Cedis and also provide employment avenues for the youth who are qualified with experiences but remained unemployed. If current and successive governments do not take a cursory look at the issues I have raised, then they should not think of bringing the armed robbery and prostitution menace to a halt any time soon because some of those who engage in those social vices are graduates who are frustrated and wants to earn a living at all cost.
By: Jerry John Campbell