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Challenges faced by our graduates

 | January 16, 2017

It's hard to find a job, and when you do, it doesn't pay enough to cover your expenses.

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Can you remember your first job? Was it enough to pay your bills, or did you have to continue sponging off your parents?

On graduation, most fresh graduates feel on top of the world – that is, until they join the thousands of other graduates in search of the dream job.

Suddenly, it’s not just about getting a high salary, or the position they were hoping for.

Many graduates think that the most devastating thing is the lack of suitable jobs. One fresh graduate recently said, “Apparently, many businesses are closing down rather than expanding. It’s hard to find a job.”

For many, the problem is a lack of experience. They complain that at the interview, they are told they are inexperienced.

As one graduate said, “This Catch-22 situation is so frustrating. The employers are asking for at least two years’ experience, but how can I get onto the employment ladder and obtain the necessary experience when, after each interview, the door is firmly shut in my face?”

On the other hand, one postgraduate who applied for a position was told that he was overqualified. “Which is it, really?” he asked. “Am I overqualified or under-qualified?”

Those who do find employment find that their salaries barely cover the cost of living. One graduate who works in a small firm said, “It’s beyond my means to pay for rental. So I’m forced to live with my parents.

“At present, my father takes me to work, though sometimes I take a taxi. Using a taxi is expensive, but at least I do not feel bad about wasting my father’s precious time.

“I am taking driving lessons so that I can be more independent. However, getting a driving licence is only half the problem. I can’t afford a car.

“Like other graduates, the things we need most are affordable accommodation and cheap transport. Many graduates like me still live with our parents.”

One graduate employed by a small firm said, “During the last two years, the boss has twice been unable to pay my monthly salary. He claimed that with a shortage of clients, the firm was struggling.

“I have stuck it out for as long as I can and I’m trying to move to another job, but there are no openings.”

Another graduate in a similar situation said, “Even non-graduate roles are hard to find. I have no regrets about getting a degree qualification, but the government must do more to address the many challenges faced by graduates.”

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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