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Letters

LETTERS: Let’s address rising unemployment problem

Jobseekers in Nairobi
Jobseekers in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Whenever I come across a key position advertised and come to know the number of qualified applicants it baffles me not because I would have wished the post to be uncompetitive or less competitive but the many underlying issues around it.

I usually wonder if key posts in government and private sector attract such a huge number of applicants. What of the entry level jobs, supervisory ones or middle level ones? Lately I did some research on LinkedIn on some advertised senior jobs in Kenya and searched on the indicated applicants and I was realty intrigued. I was called somewhere for a panel to shortlist candidates for a senior post somewhere and I can tell you it was overwhelmed by the sheer number of highly qualified candidates.

No wonder tribalism, or racism in recruitment has been a factor in some recruitments.

A recent case of very many applicants for a few mainly entry jobs who went for interviews at Eka Hotel as reported in the media is a clear indicator there is a deeper problem of unemployment in the country.

Unemployment is a big blot to any nation and in these tough times in the globe which is threatened by terrorism and other such dangerous crimes, it is a very dangerous malady to any state. Gone are the days when a problem in a certain country was largely its local problem.

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In a globalised world that is highly interactive thanks to the growth of highly innovative technologies and great improvements in means of transport and communication in the world, a problem in a country in a corner of the globe is also a problem in another. Poverty in itself is a very dangerous condition to have in any part of the world or even in a village.

Without employment it is difficult to beat poverty. Unemployment represents failure and a dangerous one. It shows that either the economy has failed or there is simply a lot of wastage, poor planning or simply a breakdown in political and economic systems in a state

. It thus represents a lurking danger. Remember economic fortunes are closely tied to politics and policies coming out of a government system.

There are nonetheless problems of international or regional nature that encumber a country but these can only be solved or managed by a well laid out system that works and this is within a government structure. In Kenya we already are aware that we have a youth bulge which in itself represents a big opportunity but potentially a very dangerous phenomenon if not well managed,

Already we have had a growing and seismic unemployment s problem spanning many years in the country. Key causes include corruption and poor circumstances in politics that have over the years denied the country the ability to tap local and international resources to create opportunities for our people.

Part of the fixing is in mending the politics which I do think there is already some efforts for that. We have been accustomed to the mantra that the youth should be creators of employment and not to seek to be employees. This is quite shallow as in any decent economy or even in any of economies few build successful enterprises or not everyone for that matter can self-employ.

Check in any country of the world and you will find government workers, people working in industries, NGOs and other sectors. Of course not everybody can be an entrepreneur and there is big space and need for consumers of goods and services produced and also the need for people to provide essential services in government and private sector.

In a nutshell, entrepreneurship is good and very important but alone is not a complete whole of an economy. Each economy needs multiplicity of various service providers of various cadre. Moreover, in any economy the rate of attrition of new businesses in the first five years is significant. Few survive beyond that point. In poorer economies or smaller economies it is far worse in terms of business failures.

The failure is not only caused by poor business skills or such but also due to a factor of limitations created by the size and structure of the economy.

The solution lies in fixing the economy such that it creates more opportunities for more enterprises to thrive as well as creating room for large companies to grow and all these absorb more people while government collects rightful and more taxes to employ more servants to provide the many essential services needed.

Harrison Mwirigi Ikunda Nairobi.

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