The year is 2021, and the world is in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. Uncertainty is a common characteristic amongst all global community members, living in a unique period in which predicting the future seems unfathomable. However, failing to highlight the differences in the extent to which it affects one individual from another would be deplorable. A variety of economic, demographic, social, and political factors determine the level of vulnerability one individual has from another. These factors may also affect the relationship an individual has to the resources and services available around them, such as information, social welfare services, goods, and job opportunities, amongst others. Significant interventions and support are needed to assist millions of people worldwide, especially in developing countries, to make their first steps towards health and economic recovery alongside the plans made by their respective governments. One of the primary facets of proper global recovery is ensuring that jobs are created and more people go back to work. Citizens of the developing world have an even much more arduous journey due to bad situations taken aback by COVID. Due to the hierarchical nature of the world, the impact of COVID will not be the same. Young people are probably at the worst side of the straw, and unique support to get them through the variety of challenges they may encounter is pivotal. This article will go through the unique struggles that young people in developing countries may encounter concerning job opportunities, including application processes, salary negotiations, and interview questions.
As previously stated, all governments worldwide are strategizing on how to get their economies fully functional and operating normally. At the macro level, these strategies must ensure that businesses are 100% operational and constantly growing while creating more opportunities for employment amongst previously retrenched members of society. In theory, this seems to be a straightforward endeavor; in reality, it will take delicate planning and much-needed time to implement in practice. As things stand, global economies are far from taking in all the people who were let go in during lockdown periods. Governments worldwide have come out to assure their citizens that their recovery plans will soon be evident and beneficial to all. As reassuring as this may be, it is unlikely that citizens will wait to see these plans manifest and bring back their previously accustomed life. Citizens should aim to uplift themselves by accessing job opportunities and adopting strategies that can be utilized at a more micro-level scale. There has never been an important time for employers and employees to come together to ensure that relevant jobs are directed to the right people vice versa. In certain cases, the problem is not the lack of opportunities or talent; it lacks proper networks and connections to link the right job to the right candidate. This is an element of the job search that is rarely emphasized to young people; most of the emphasis is placed on creating the perfect CV and sending it to as many companies as possible. No one can deny this success; however, using all information, strategies, tools, and people at your disposal is better than any single method that can be adopted. Young people should be encouraged to diversify their searches for employment, and employers may get impressed by their courage and be open to giving them opportunities.
No one solution fits all problems plan that will be or can be implemented; hence, the article will focus on how this entire situation relates and affects young people, primarily graduates who can take strides towards fruitful careers in their various fields. The issue of job opportunities relates to everyone irrespective of background. Still, it is primarily a plight affecting young people who have limited to no job experience, no strong networks in their respective field, naivety, and inadequate skills and information to sell themselves successfully to company managers. Despite all the job reductions that were taking place across small and big businesses also affecting employees who have worked in their industries for years, it will essentially be young people who feel the pain in the long run. The employability of individuals who have evidence of success in their specific roles is more desirable than tapping into talent that might need more resources to train and not reap the same positive rewards. This risk factor associated with young individuals is not a new issue. It has existed throughout generations. However, graduates leaving tertiary today have an even steeper mountain to climb due to the severe consequences of the COVID pandemic. Highly skilled and experienced individuals have resorted to taking entry-level, accepting lower pay and benefits because of the current economic climate and limited job opportunities. This phenomenon is not new and has been exacerbated in the past year; companies have no problem utilizing high-quality skills for a relatively lower salary. Today’s youth should find even more innovative ways to make themselves stand out of the crowd in the highly competitive job market while the government and business fight to get back to full strength and functionality.
Salary of Job
Conversations around remunerations in certain cases are usually a subject of major debate, with pay differing by experience, education levels, and the scarcity of the skills the role requires. Young people, in general, do not measure up well in this category as well. However, it is far better than those who haven’t set their foot in the door at all. Hiring companies receive hundreds of applications for a single job vacancy; they know how many people are just waiting in line for that single opportunity to better their lives. This knowledge limits a young person’s ability to negotiate for a salary they feel would be adequate for their costs and maintain a decent standard of living. To be fair to hiring companies, young people cannot provide any evidence of great productive output to demand higher salaries from employers at this point of their careers. Debates around productivity, hours worked, race, and gender dominate the salary conversations in different sectors globally. Studies around the subject have introduced different elements to the conversation, the most dominant gender pay gap. The gender pay gap suggests that women are paid less than their male counterparts despite doing the same work. These debates are still held in many parliaments worldwide and are still yet to be concluded. If the gender pay gap exists, it just adds to a list of issues that limit an already disadvantaged group of people. These debates are important to have a clear and uniform guideline to measure how job candidates should be remunerated and how the increases are related to their productivity or work experience.
Companies have put different ways and processes to engage individuals who aspire to become part of their organizations. Due to advances in technology, applying for a job has moved away from dropping a Curriculum Vitae in person. Emails, fax posts, and couriers are all more convenient and quick ways to get your application to the right person. All these options have made applying for jobs a possibility even during a pandemic where population movement is not recommended. In this instance, young people bear a slight advantage because they are well versed in using the new technologies that dominate the corporate space today. Some processES are easy and short and could be concluded within a minute; others can be long, spanning over a period that could span weeks.
Challenges regarding job application processes can be localized to a particular area; for example, young people in South Africa face difficulties with certifying their documents or getting money to get to the nearest post office or a police station. This process requires unemployed individuals with no income to cough up funds that they do not have. In all fairness to hiring companies, applying for a job might be a hassle for young unemployed applicants despite the application process. This relies mainly on the particular geographic or economic situation. Something as simple as sending an email for an available job vacancy in the big cities can be problematic for an unemployed graduate living in rural South Africa. In an instance of a job vacancy that requires a young applicant to mail it by post or fax, the challenges become even more complex and need even more funds to carry out. Typically, post offices are situated in more urban settings requiring rural inhabitants to take long journeys to access them. Upon getting to the city, where these services are provided, copies of the document should be made. Thereafter they need to be certified at the police station, which usually has long queues and provides limited services due to the social distancing regulations put in place currently. In addition, internet cafes charge ridiculous prices for a single-page copy limiting the number of applications possible for a young graduate to make. Things like these that major companies never notice may sometimes be why they cannot get the proper fit for their job openings. A more diversified approach to receiving applications would go a long way in ensuring that the right vacancies are filled by the most competent, not just those who had the resources to multiple applications.
Interviews are generally a stressful part of a job seeker’s journey, mixed between the excitement of potentially landing the dream job and the negative thoughts of thinking you may not be good enough and doomed to live a life of unfulfilled dreams. In some cases, an individual might already Have been to a couple of interviews before and has a generally bad memory of the entire experience. It is always the little things that linger in someone’s mind that end up ruining the chance of getting a job already in the bag. Thinking about all the questions that can be asked in an interview is enough to keep a young graduate all night instead of getting enough rest in preparation for the big day ahead. It is undeniable that some interviewees are just underprepared and overwhelmed by the questions that the interviewer expects. However, it is a major misconception that a bad interview equals poor preparation.
Generally, interview questions are based on finding out whether the applicant is a right fit by probing on his skills, motivations, work experience, cultural fit, and understanding of the role they are being interviewed for. Some interviews are technical and may require applicants to assess being considered for the job; however, this is specific to a small niche of sectors and roles. The main argument here is that it is unlikely that interview questions on their own can derail an applicant or prove beyond doubt that a candidate is not capable of filling the vacancy effectively and competently. An underperforming candidate is less likely to be struggling with the interview questions but the doubts that stem from battles and pressures in their heads defeat them before entering an interview room. In a particular situation, the interviewer can decide the interview outcome by making the candidate feel comfortable to properly gauge the individual and get an accurate analysis of him/her. More emphasis should be put on interviewers to ensure the comfortability of candidates rather than the focus being put on the difficulty of the questions asked.
Young people in developing countries such as South Africa are not favorable standing to get jobs to sustain their livelihoods. The labor market is saturated and already filled with talent fighting over limited opportunities making it difficult for young people to put their foot in. Significant steps should be taken to assist them at the macro and micro levels to ensure that their transition from graduation to the labor market is seamless and not nearly early impossible. It is everyone’s responsibility!