Mistakes Locking Kenyan Graduates Out of Dream Jobs

  • Jobseekers wait to hand in their documents during recruitment at County Hall in Nairobi, 2019.
    Jobseekers wait to hand in their documents during recruitment at County Hall in Nairobi, 2019.
    NMG
  • For many graduates, the graduation date marks the end of their education journey, and specifically, the 8-4-4 system, which is transforming into the 3-6-6-3 under the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC).

    Most students believe that the academic certificates presented to them by the various institutions of higher learning will open doors that were previously locked, hence the proverbial term 'education is the key to success.'

    However, as soon as they step out into the job market that awaits them, reality kicks in.

    Letter after letter, e-mail after e-mail, students make applications in search of their dream jobs only for the majority to wake up in the unemployment nightmare. Only a handful of graduates are called for interviews and an even fewer number make the cut.

    A photo of jobseekers queuing on Wabera Street, Nairobi, waiting to be interviewed by The Sarova Stanley on May 26, 2018.
    Jobseekers queuing on Wabera Street, Nairobi, waiting to be interviewed by The Sarova Stanley on May 26, 2018.
    Daily Nation

    Soon, the students begin to get frustrated and the blame game begins. On one side, graduates blame the employers for having unrealistic expectations while on the other arm, employers feel that the graduates are ill-equipped for the real world.

    Before looking at their entry into the job market, we managed to establish the first opportunity graduates are presented with as students - internships.

    Offered as a unit in most, if not all universities, all students are required to undertake an internship programme at least once before they graduate. However, a lecturer from one of the top public universities stated that most students do not accord it with the seriousness it deserves.

    "Most students go for the internship just because it is a requirement in school," the lecturer told Kenyans.co.ke.

    Choosing to remain anonymous, he stated that instead of using their internship, most students perform decimally in the unit. He added that instead of using it as a stepping stone to their budding career, students only use it to pass time and as such do not get absorbed into the companies.

    In addition, fresh graduates pose a challenge to their employers and a number of companies have in the past had difficulty in how to handle the new generations of employees.

    According to Boxraft Ltd (the publisher of Kenyans.co.ke) and Kenyamoja.comManaging Director Robert Ndungu, the main obstacle is trying to switch their mentality from the school environment and inculcate them into the working environment.

    "Unlike in school where they read to pass, the working environment is actually different. Here, people are paid to do work, and as such, certain minimums must be met," he stated

    One of the greatest determinants of whether or not graduates keeping their jobs is their nature which is defined as static or dynamic.

    Most employers prefer a dynamic employee, one that has the ability to morph in the work environment, growing themselves as individuals and the organization.

    Graduates also miss out on getting and keeping jobs because of being modest. While graduates have a perception that being reserved in the workspace earns you respect among colleagues, modesty does more harm than good.

    This is mostly witnessed when writing cover letters during job applications and interviews. The modern-day employer has the time to discover the abilities of every employee.
     
    In conclusion, graduates need to keep a brace with the current job market trends and find what will make them make they more valuable in the eyes of the employers.

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    UoN graduates celebrate during the 57th Graduation Ceremony held at the institution's grounds on September 22, 2017.
    File