In many African countries, the employability of young graduates remains a steady challenge. The situation is alarming between those young people who have chosen to work in the informal sector and those who continue to seek decent employment despite having opted for under-employability. Africa, the region with the largest youth population in the world, is experiencing a strong growth in demand for employment that governments and businesses are struggling to meet. The figures that characterize this situation speak loud and clear. By 2030, approximately 100 million young people will enter the labour market. This represents over 10 million young job seekers annually (source UNESCO). Faced with this critical situation, we are tempted to ask ourselves what causes the difficult professional integration of young African graduates and what actions should be adopted to alleviate this malaise.
Causes of Unemployment among Young African graduates
The employability of young graduates is a constant challenge that African governments are struggling to meet. Causes explained below,
- Lack of skills sought on the job market
The mismatch between the needs of the market and the training received is one of the reasons for unemployment and the under-employability of job seekers in Africa. In economies where the informal sector is increasingly dominant, the traditional technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system is no longer adequate. The problem here is that many young Africans leave school without the basic skills to embrace the current demands of the workplace. In an ever-changing environment, a degree alone is no longer enough. Only skills and qualifications promote better professional integration.
- The lack of collaboration between TVET and the growth sectors
The gap that exists between the educational system and companies, especially those oriented towards technology and innovation, creates a great shortfall for young graduates. Indeed, companies are not automatically involved in the orientation of students, the definition and the design of the programs that are proposed to them. Sectors such as food processing, textiles, health, digital economy, construction, transportation, finance, etc., still need qualified people. Hence the existing insufficiency in the offer that TVET proposes to the labor market.
Practical solutions for more effective employability of young graduates
Beyond the actions undertaken by governments, with the support of international organizations and NGOs, a paradigm shift is more than urgent. The academic approach must be able to adapt to the evolution of the professional environment. Close collaboration between the private and public sectors is more than necessary. For example,
- Public-private partnerships will allow for the governance, management and financing of vocational training institutions.
- Businesses can offer internship programs, mentoring and even skills certification to youth.
- Also, introducing a quality assurance mechanism could help address the mismatch between supply and demand.
- Promoting entrepreneurship in booming sectors such as agriculture, digital, and the textile industry will create new employment opportunities in prosperous economies.
With the economic challenges facing African governments, improving the future prospects of this generation is essential, given the potential benefits that a “youth dividend” could bring to the continent if young people are given the skills and opportunities to contribute meaningfully to growth and well-being.
Nous espérons vraiment un changement dans notre gouvernance local afin de recevoir des formations adéquates et avoir des compétences et performance pour le monde de l’emploi