Skilled but Unemployable; Where is the Problem?


One thing that is a reality in the world today is the increasing number of skilled professionals. This may not be a global reality because countries are endowed differently. Speaking in the Kenyan context, which I am pretty familiar with, I would recognize that we can, with some good evidence, boast of increased, skilled labor. This can be attributed to the 8.4.4 system of education, which was a white-collar job-oriented approach. As we see the system crumbling down, paving the way for the Competency-based Curriculum (CBC), we can see its contribution to the labor force in the country. I will be careful to stop this here because my interest has nothing to compare the two systems.

Despite the major increase in the skilled labor force, many people are still swimming in the terrible pool of unemployment. The number of people writing another book of lamentation over the unavailability of opportunities is quite disturbing. Four decades ago, the problem was a lack of adequate labor as employers were booking potential graduates. Nowadays, it seems the work was done a long time ago. People find themselves job hunting for years until this becomes their job. 

To what could we possibly attribute the Problem of this galloping unemployment crisis? I know we cannot have one definite answer due to diverse classes of unemployment vacillating in the gamut of voluntary and involuntary unemployment. With increased numbers of institutions of higher learning and technical institutes, we cannot possibly cling to the skill deficiency. I am not in any way intending to say that all graduates are qualified and fully ready for effective delivery in the field. Like all human milieu, academic institutions release into the world a mixed multitude. There are people competent to task who will do great work when commissioned to labor. On the same note, some people will need more patience and more training to be apt to duty, which can also be attributed to many more factors. 

What then is the Problem? Why do our highly qualified laborers spend forever trying to find work to do? Why is the highway towards employment still rough even after people have done professional courses? 

The greatest reason most people cannot acquire or keep a job for some time is unemployability. Unemployability in this respect has not much to do with skill, as we have tried to explain up there. Instead, it has a lot to do with ethical concerns and adaptability.   In their letters of recommendation, Everyone has written with living colors, “Can work under no supervision.” But on the ground, the truth is making our papers useless. The self-same people are found to be in dire need of strict supervision to complete any task.  There seems to be an outbreak of lazy employees who must be followed to fulfill their obligations. Who wants to employ someone who makes it necessary to sempiternally review the CCTV footage to see if work is being done? Not me!

Ethical concerns even go deep into personal character. The moral standards are sagging, and more than ever, there is worrying office malpractice, ranging from sensuality to integrity issues. Most people only live for today and seem to be not concerned about legacies. The dishonesty practiced by people at places of work is that most employers cannot afford a leave. Employers cannot afford to be sick, and if they do, just a week is enough to be declared bankrupt. This is even worse in the transport industries. It is becoming more dangerous to transport business especially the short distance where there is no office, and a business owner has to depend on the reports of the driver and his tout. Who wants to employ someone with questionable character? Not me! Unfortunately, they are so evenly distributed that you can meet at least one daily without repeating.

To make it worse, most job seekers are wanting as far as interpersonal and soft skills are concerned. Most people can only work with a team on their curriculum vitae. Most people do not understand the power of teamwork, and stupidly treat their colleagues as competitors, and sometimes sabotage at will the efforts of others.  Especially those suffering from a superiority complex tend to mistreat those who are new and junior at work. They feel like those fresh on duty should be able to handle with the precision of a maestro what they themselves got acquainted with after conflicts and attempts. Who wants to employ someone who cannot work harmoniously and productively with others? Not me!

Executive abilities are very important qualifications. They convinced somebody who doesn’t know you well to trust you with duties and opportunities. But there is more to a successful career path than that. Much more is dependent on adaptability and character. No one wants to have their company run by a bunch of slothful revelrous employees. No one wants to trust their hard-earned empire with men and women with no moral vertebral column, who will end up leading them to bankruptcy. No one wants to have a crook who doesn’t understand the power of a team in their company. 

With intimidating academic papers and even something good on top in the form of professional certifications, you will not be able to acquire meaningful employment opportunities if you cannot learn the golden rule of adaptability and character. You are simply unemployable if you cannot maximize the shareholders’ equity and customers’ welfare. Employability goes beyond good papers, which are equally important. After learning a trade, take a course that is not offered anywhere—a certificate in employability.  Work on your character and soft skills. Work on your attitude and interpersonal skills. Learn how to work with others. This will translate into a wow to your clients, colleagues, and boss.

 Being a nice human will make a difference when a degree and professional certificates have forced a tie. 

12 thoughts on “Skilled but Unemployable; Where is the Problem?

  1. The conclusion carries the weight of the day: Being a nice person reals the tie. However, as we stand today, our labor market calls for “who you know” more than “who you are”. Arguably, good people, a greater percentage, are the ones we call unemployable graduates because they know nobody to take them into the flawed labor system. I think the current system allows people with defect characters. You’ll keep your good character for yourself and eternal life, not the Kenyan labor market 🤪😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments and issues well raised. So the challenge is employment in Kenya. Can’t you think of the global space as within your reach? And concerning dealing with Kenyan problems the Kenyan way, and keeping good character for eternal life, is this not a subcompartmentalised life?

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  2. Just reminded me of a common meme that “I can work under minimum supervision amepiga manager” well its insane how we rob everything. I remember once my lecturer told me everyone is striving for papers but one thing that will take you far is character not papers. And I had a lot to ponder on.

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