Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

Unemployment and the perceptions of youth

By Masood Ali Khan

Being part of the job market system, and social activities, I have practically experienced and observed the unemployment situation in the country, where one starts his/her educational career from a remote far-flung area with limited resources. Parents are motivated for educating their children by looking at those exceptional individuals working in different public or private organizations and feeding their families, or affording luxurious lives. They usually dream of their children getting good position in the society in the supposedly ‘meritocratic’ era. They year for a society where their children are considered leaders in different capacities based on their skills, and a society where they can share their achievements in terms of good grades, volunteer activities and many more to their parents. This approach increases the expectations of the parents, and the society, at a large scale.

Moving down from the mountains for advanced education, one accepts the hurdles of living away from their families, relatives and friends. Other important hurdles faced by the youth are managing their expenses, cultural restrictions, societal issues and many more. The reason behind accepting all the challenges is ultimately to concentrate on education, earn knowledge and skills, and degrees, and then a job, thus being able to contribute towards the welfare of the family and the society. One can never play his due role without suitable and sustainable conditions starting from his personal satisfaction, family’s expectations and then the societal responsibilities.

Higher education at times was considered a path for entering mainstream jobs. However, nowadays, despite of being knowledgeable and skilled, and having degrees in hand, one’s prospects of success are influenced by what is generally referred to as “referral” system. If you know the right person in the right organisation at at the righ time, you will get the job, whether or not you have the skills and qualification required. This approach is a fact, bet it based on reality or sheer perceptions.

With reference to my personal experience in the development sector and as someone involved in recruitment process for the public-sector organizations, and based on my interaction with group of young energetic individuals, I have come across people who firmly believe that instead of searching for jobs, they should  develop linkages in organisations, and identify influential individuals who, they think, can get them employment. THis approach works, unfortunately, many a times. It Isis frustrating for those who believes in merit and expertise.

Recently going through an interview process of a public-sector organization it was experienced that still formalities are preferred by asking questions related to the skills which can be acquired through trainings before joining the position. It was expected that questions related to the skills will be asked which one have acquired working in the previous organizations and can be utilized for the system development in the future organization. But this is not the case.

My practical experience can be generalized for all those having degrees from reputed institutions and searching for positions in the public or private organizations. 10 years back, the fresh graduates had hope from the private organizations including the non-government organization, but the frustration and negative perception of the youth regarding employment in government organizations remains the same till date.

Unfortunately, private sector organizations are also manipulated with the ideas and approach of referral which is used as a second term for the Urdu term “Sefarish”. No matter what an individual has achieved during his/her educational career, the weak system of the organizations never lets him/her start even with the opportunity of internship which is the only source and path for those who are without reference and trying to start their career relevant to their field of interest.

Sometimes this frustration gives a clear path to the youth to come up with entrepreneurial ideas which in our society is exceptional. After acquiring the degree of Master in Philosophy (M.Phil.), no one is accepted to start a shop in the remote area. Contradiction always exists in the mindset and perception of youth facing challenges for employment and those parents who always expected their children to be on the top hierarchy of any organization.

According to Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.

Consistency with proper planning of life and smart work instead of hard work will hopefully help the youth to make a difference and be exceptional in the current scenario.

The contributor is a student of M.Phil. International Development Studies. 

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