Today’s Graduates Are Not Employable


John Kelly
About 70 per cent today graduates in Ghana and many parts of the world are not employable in any industry because they completely lack employability skills, the Director of one of the leading business and management consulting firm in Nigeria, Kennedy Brake, has told Business Day in an exclusive interview.
“The core problem of the rising unemployment crisis in Ghana is not solely caused by lack of employment opportunities but lack of employability development by about 70 per cent of today’s graduates,” the Director of Brakins Resources Limited lamented vehemently.
He continued: “Development of soft generic skills are necessary for getting, keeping and being successful in any employment sector. These skills and attitudes enable the prospective employee to get along with their colleagues, to make critical decisions, solve problem, develop respect and ultimately become a strong representative for an organization.”
In recent years, employers in both the public and private sectors have had cause to complain about the quality of graduates leaving many of Ghana’s tertiary institutions.
Interviews with human resource managers and other recruiters are full of woeful stories of graduates who can sometimes barely string grammatical sentences together.
“Many of today’s graduates have inadequate training in the use of ICTs, while others lack other skills in time-management, team work and leadership in order to become immediately employable after graduation,” Maxwell Mensah, a Human Resource Expert with a Ghanaian-based oil company, has stated.
This situation has led to a higher-than-desirable level in the number of Ghanaian graduates who remain unemployed sometimes for several years after graduation from polytechnics, universities or other tertiary institutions. Indeed, so difficult has it become for some graduates to get employment that an Association of Unemployed Graduates has recently been formed in Ghana.
Although the problem of graduate unemployment has been a bane for most countries, even the most advanced, the situation for new graduates in Ghana seems to have been worsened following the rapid increase in the last decade of both public and privately-owned and run tertiary institutions.
According to the National Accreditation Board, more than 100 applications were received over the past 15 years for the establishment of private Universities and tertiary institutions. Of the applicants, more than 100 have already received full accreditation and are at various stages of running academic programmes.
In many cases, applicants for accreditation of new institutions may have been adept at writing impressive business plans and showing off artist’s impressions of wonderful new universities they intended to build.
However, in a number of instances, the founders and promoters of new universities have discovered that they did not have adequate insights, market knowledge, partnerships, deep pockets, financial grounding, planning and organisational skills to enable their implementation efforts match their original dreams. After all, the running of academic institutions is a business, in the sense that an academic institution must be able to cover its costs.
The effect has been that some new tertiary institutions have remained underfunded and have failed to attract the right calibre of leadership, faculty and students. The results are among what has contributed to the quantum of inadequately educated or trained graduates walking the streets of Ghana’s major cities, seeking top-level jobs for which they are scarcely qualified. In their desperation, many continue to seek greener pastures oversees.