It is a world of shirts, ties and suits. A white collar cocktail affair that we all dream of, that we yearn for, that we consider an achievement; a world of great opportunities. A class known for earning high average salaries and not performing manual labor at our jobs that is what we young people especially in Africa crave for and tirelessly edit and re-edit our resume’s,upgrade our application letters at times with fake hobbies and profiles all with the aim of catching the eye of potential employers.
None of us wants to be associated with a wage salary; to us wearing ties and suits is what makes us visible to the rest of the society. Our dream is to work, earn, invest and open businesses of our own, in short join the world of entrepreneurship.
We experience brain drain just like many other countries in the world, we have qualified graduates choosing to work in places where there is more freedom, better pay and an overall higher standard of living, we stand in the line between the world of innovativeness, creativity and that of employment, all in this circle of science and technology, seemingly having the same goals but are drained to think that sitting in an office and having a computer in front of you is what gives you a sense of satisfaction that that is the good life!
We are at play with varying levels of severity. Am not one to stand in that gap of thirsting for a white collar job and somewhat lawyer up championing for the youth in Kenya to wake up and be innovative, but I will say this, there is so much ability in us but we are too lazy to get out there and do something of our own, because one of our main focus is quick money, we need to see the ‘paper’ so that we can move on.
No one wants to struggle through this financial and economic era that hits us pretty hard with its plague and start from nothing. No! We all want to quickly be employed, live good lives and ‘fit’ in forgetting that there is so much satisfaction in creativity, no matter the years of struggle and focus that is scaled for the future, we don’t engage in income generating activities say like farming which also provides equal opportunities that may also be highly profitable…
But… WHO CAN BLAME US??
According to a labor migration between the developing and developed countries ,law and globalization interdisciplinary seminar : developing countries have lost considerable invested resources by means of losing skilled labor to developed or more appealing countries. The receiving country loses productive capacity due to the absence of higher skilled workers and students.
An effective way of addressing the challenge of unemployed youth is to help them develop their skills in entrepreneurship and small business development. Here is the problem: Our education system is not geared towards equipping students with practical knowledge and skills, it is more theoretic than practical, failing to empower our students and tap into talent that in turn creates employment opportunities for our people through innovation and discovery, due to this there is over reliance on white collar jobs which also saturates the job market rendering most young people unemployed and despondent.
Globally, the number of youth unemployed increased to 76 million with the youth-adult employment ratio remaining almost constant at 2.8 (ILO, 2009). On the heels of great concern for the lack of unemployment in Africa and more so in Kenya, some people have left the country for higher salaries abroad, some have migrated overseas in search of a better political and social environment, while others have been lured away by cultural affinity to other countries.
George Orwell quoted “People are wrong when they think that an unemployed man only worries about losing his wages; on the contrary, an illiterate man, with the work habit in his bones, needs work even more than he needs money. An educated man can put up with enforced idleness, which is one of the worst evils of poverty. But a man like Paddy, with no means of filling up time, is as miserable out of work as a dog on the chain. That is why it is such nonsense to pretend that those who have ‘come down in the world’ are to be pitied above all others.
The man who really merits pity is the man who has been down from the start, and faces poverty with a blank, resource-less mind.”