Lillian Ngala

Organizations Can Help Country to Eat ‘Half-Baked’ Cake of Graduates

Organizations Can Help Country to Eat ‘Half-Baked’ Cake of Graduates


The current unemployment rate is a worrying trend globally. Ironically, the fresh graduates who have been able to secure the jobs are also facing difficulties in settling down due to a mismatch between their education or training and labour market requirements.

Companies and recruiters have always lamented ‘half-baked’ graduates without necessarily wanting to be part of the solution.

For this reason, we must have structures that would ensure employers play a critical role in preparing the graduates with the right workplace skills. This is the starting point.

Employers must not be left out of the education and training process of the students. It is critical for us to move beyond lamenting the limited skills of graduates and assume a super-proactive role in contributing and influencing the output of universities and the institutions of higher learning.

But while it is obvious that the universities have a major part in this change, the active involvement of government cannot be ignored in many environments – such as setting policy directions and offering direct and indirect incentives to the organisations that are involved in these arrangements.


Shift of Attitude

Truth be told, successful graduate employability is for the benefit of all stakeholders – the graduates, employers, institutions of higher learning, governments and the economy at large.

On the other hand, failure to equip graduates with these skills always leads to adverse consequences for employees, employers, organisations and the economy. That results in unemployment, low wages, lack of job satisfaction, decreased overall productivity and competitiveness of the industry and the economy at large.

A shift of attitude is, therefore, needed to bring about changes, where important stakeholders ought to assume specific roles in identifying employability skills and facilitating the transitional phase for new graduates.

Employers and institutions of higher learning must work together to slay this dragon of ‘half-baked’ graduates by allowing the continuing students and fresh graduates to have a glimpse at the world of work prior to any form of formal engagement or employment for that matter.

Traditionally, businesses assumed the role of grooming new graduates to become productive members of their workforce.

Unfortunately, this role is gradually getting eroded as employers would rather have graduates come ‘ready-made’ — with the desirable attributes and, in some cases, in addition to that, a few years of work experience.


Develop New Skills

But this can be somewhat unrealistic. Besides, it can disadvantage the majority of fresh graduates who are unable to fulfil these requirements.

Employer readiness to embrace the young graduates during the early phase of their career not only helps fresh graduates to develop new skills but also make the right career choices before they go deeper into a particular specialisation as they get to have an understanding of the career in depth and breadth.

Job shadowing also equips the fresh graduates with communication, problem-solving, analytical thinking, business and customer awareness, creativity, leadership and work ethic, among other skills.

With this backdrop, it would be great if all stakeholders join hands to improve graduate employability by embracing them even before they complete their studies without placing exaggerated expectations on universities and other institutions of higher learning.

That would lead to greater facilitation of the transitional phase to career choices and employment by cultivating employer ability skills without any cost at all to the employer but opening their doors wide to embrace this group of fresh individuals who are thirsty for hand-holding.


This article first appeared in the Daily Nation on February 08, 2021

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