Confronting unemployment question through research

Fradreck Gorwe Business Reporter

Graduates should retrace their footsteps from the “classroom to the boardroom” to make valuable introspections before they put the “obvious” blame on rare job opportunities in Zimbabwe.

The recommendation followed a nationwide research by a market research organisation, Topline Research Solutions (TRS).

In order to confront the issue and proffer solutions, TRS engaged  Zimbabwe Newspapers and organised a training workshop to interact with unemployed graduates and try to reframe their perspectives with regard to employment opportunities. The workshop ran under the theme, “From the classroom to the boardroom.”

In an interview with Business Weekly, TRS managing director Patson Gasura, said from the observations made on the national trends, the unemployment rate is not necessarily corresponding to the literacy rate in the country due to certain deficiencies on the side of job seekers rather. Regardless of realities connected to the employer’s side, the unemployed graduates need to sell themselves through complete, clear and correct Curriculum Vitae (CVs).

“From the researches we did, there are a number of observations we made, national trends that we observed. This particular one deals with unemployment in Zimbabwe, where we observed that they say the country is 90 percent unemployed and we also observed that the country is highly literate, again at almost 90 percent literacy rate.

“As researchers we said, ‘But why this contradiction? There is definitely something that is not right.’ We decided to focus on the graduates themselves although we know there is the employer side where we know jobs have been closed down. We asked what the graduate is doing to try and get employment. We are an employer ourselves in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and my experience as we clearly observed is that there are certain deficiencies. The majority of graduates themselves do not create complete, clear and correct curriculum vitae (CVs),” he said.

“They do not create CVs as selling documents that tell a competitive story about themselves. Secondly, we also observed that in the interviews that we had with graduates, the common sentiment is that the graduates are not ready and do not sound ready for the workplace. They have studied what they do not seem to have studied.”

He added that the platform TRS seeks to challenge graduates to look at the kind of CVs they prepare and also to properly brace themselves for job interviews. They should in fact be equipped with technical, interpersonal and conceptual skills among other qualifications.

Objectives of the TRS platform also echoed President Mnangagwa’s sentiments on the need for a departure from theoretical to practical focus in educational systems.

Recently President Mnangagwa declared that gone are the days when institutions of learning prepare people for employment but graduates need to embrace practical skills that feeds into economic turnaround strategies.

Learning institutions ought to start to prepare people for their own start-ups as entrepreneurs. Mr Gasura recommended the coming on board of key stakeholders like the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education to assist in TRS’ reshaping of the mindsets and attitudes of graduates to ensure they become potential employers on their own right. The discussion has to happen among the graduates themselves.

There is great need for locals to dump the culture of reciting problems eloquently without including selves into problem-solving. It is for this reason that collaboration with Zimpapers was done.

“It is not difficult to tell somebody what problems we are facing as a country and we do not want to be one of those reporting problems. This is why we said let us start this workshop. We spoke with our friends at Zimpapers. We said, ‘Zimpapers come, we think we have got something that is newsworthy because of all the statistics, unemployment is one of the biggest headaches but we need to work on the mindsets and attitudes of these graduates.’”

The research solutions company mulls further studies into Zimbabweans’ copying strategies amidst various challenges.

Further research shall concern Zimbabweans in the diaspora with regard to the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.

“Our question as researchers is: ‘Is it not open for business first to compatriots themselves because they understand this country more than any other prominent investor?’ In my view, Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa make better investments in our rural areas than foreign investors from America and other countries” said Mr Gasura.

Departure from traditional job seeking to entrepreneurship has become the global trend and has actually permeated through educational curricula of different countries.