Graduates wary of job market

October 17, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 17 – Fresh graduates in Kenya remain pessimistic about securing jobs, even as the government gave an assurance that employment creation was a ‘top priority’.

Most former students interviewed by Capital News after the 39th graduation ceremony of the University of Nairobi said they did not think the market would absorb them as quickly as they wished.

“I did actuarial science and with the current financial crisis our profession is badly affected. We only hope that it will get better,” David Keiranga, one of the 4,000 graduates said.

“We don’t expect to get jobs immediately,’ was Leonard Mwambi’s answer when asked what his expectation was.

Some were planning to add other qualifications to their credential get an upper hand in the job market. “When you are an undergraduate it is not easy to get a job.  I’m looking forward to doing a Masters degree,” said Catherine Kitonde, a trained teacher.

Thousands of youths continue to flood the job market with a staggering economy unable to absorb all of them.  The government has admitted that the country continues to experience high levels of unemployment as expanded higher education continues to churn out thousands of graduates.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony President Mwai Kibaki admitted that unemployment remained a major challenge facing the Grand Coalition Government, but promised that it was one of its main agendas under Vision 2030. “Indeed, this graduation ceremony is another reminder of the urgent need to create the jobs that our young people are so much in need of,” he said.

With the difficulties of securing a job most of the young professionals said they were considering entrepreneurship as the best alternative. “We hope we will use the ideas we have acquired to create jobs for ourselves and others,” James Kimani an Architect said.
“For us who studied education employment is hard but at least they train us in many other things so we are versatile,” Celina Omuyoma said.
Sociologist Ken Ouko told Capital News in an interview that university education was packaged to develop entrepreneurial skills in the students. “When we teach we tell the students that they are picking roles, it is not just being a graduate but it is what you do with it. Those who understand it know that they can leave here and set up their own businesses because they have the respect and the know-how and that can convince a bank manager for a loan.”
The University of Nairobi lecturer said that the focus of education in the tertiary institutions should be tilted into moulding the individual into a responsible all-rounded person. “These days am getting excited when I read in the newspapers young people who have realised this and taken up innovative projects.”


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