Oh, so what should I do? My answer is to start a business. It might not be necessarily in line with the course you read in school. For example, a young unemployed graduate who likes sports decided to be writing sport articles, reviews and some behind-the-scene news to some media organizations in Accra after years of unemployment. He would send these articles to the media organizations consistently. He didn’t go there with his CV because he didn’t want to be refused. At first, the media organizations thought he was just a job seeker and told him there were no vacancies. He kept on capturing news that the media organizations’ cameras might not reach. He did this consistently until the media organizations decided to pay him commission on a weekly basis because every organization wanted to be the first to break the news. Some of the media organisations would invite him as guests on sports talk shows from time to time. This was how he took care of himself and he family. He is now self-employed doing this.
Today most of the media organizations want to employ him full time but he has refused. This is because the commission he getting from all the organisations for his “underground reporting” is much more than what any of the individual organization is willing to pay a month. He also doesn’t want to be tied down to one organization. Another reason is because he will not be allowed to report for other media organizations if one media organization employed him full time per the agreement. Want to know who this person is??
The growing numbers of graduates means the country has more educated people. That is good news. The problem is most have not been educated on starting their own businesses. An average Ghanaian graduate is thinking “How do I perfect my CV?”, ” How do I answer the interview questions? “, His do I dress for the interview?”, etc. Some will be employed but what will happen to the rest.
For instance between 2011 and 2015 , the National Service Secretariat registered a total of 289,539 graduates for the national service. Out of this total number, 5,000 were employed in the formal Sector, according to the data from the National Labour Organisation. What is the solution to the unemployment problem of the rest of graduates? I think it is starting their own businesses.
Let me share a personal experience. There was a time when a big bank in Ghana called for applications for a job. The announcement was that the applicants should come to a particular venue for the aptitude test. The time for the event was 8am. I got there on time only to see hundreds if not thousands if young people, well dressed, carrying their CVs already at the venue. The venue was too packed that the rest of us had to stand outside on the street whiles other young people were still joining the crowd even on the street. I also saw some of my old school mates. It was around the time of the Ebola outbreak. The bank officials upon seeing the crowd announced that we should go back and upload our CVs on their website. I just knew it was a nice way of saying no. I didn’t even bother to upload my CV.
When I see another unemployed association, I just say to myself that these graduates should rather come together to form a powerful business organization to prove themselves worthy of all the investment the nation has made in their lives all these years. This is the time to say “Thank you” to the nation and give back to society for all they have learnt and become. The same energy, passion they used to mobilize themselves for this association should be channeled to come together, plan and start a business and when they start, they will be better placed to get more funding for the business. There are a lot of local and foreign organizations who are willing to help startups. Even if the government employs all the graduates, is it ready to handle their management and financing?
By Ann Maclean