It comes as no surprise that life in Zambia and Africa as a whole is not easy for most recent undergraduates, but who’s to say life anywhere is? Being an undergraduate in Zambia myself in the field of banking and finance, I have experienced the challenges other undergraduates go through or will go through on their job-hunting journey.
In Zambia, the issue of nepotism seems to be common. If one does not have an influential family member, family friend or know a familiar person within an organization in both the public and private sector who can help to push through their application then he/she is almost doomed for permanent unemployment. At times, you still face challenges even if you have familiarity with an insider because the person in charge of the recruitment process already has a list of preferred candidates rendering your contacts useless.
In other instances, you find that organizations make the job search more challenging for undergraduates through impossible job requirements like the number of years of experience or age restrictions. Some organizations search for candidates with a minimum of 5-10 years’ work experience with an age requirement. This automatically disqualifies most undergraduates because they are young and have little or no experience. The application process is no different. Although a lot of organizations have adopted the online application systems, some still use the traditional process where applications are submitted physically. This brings the challenge of time and cost because the applicants must find resources to be able to physically submit their application. Those without resources miss out.
Another challenge is that some organizations seem to prefer a select few institutions that a candidate should have graduated from. This is another barrier for those who could not afford to attend those favoured institutions for various reasons. Those that have studied abroad also seem to have an advantage over those that studied locally.
The above challenges cause frustration and demoralize those who have invested their time and resources to pay for their education or those with relevant skills. It would be helpful if the above were addressed and considered by most organizations and recruitment professionals to help foster a more inclusive recruitment process and offer equal opportunities. Zambia has a growing young population.
WE deserve a chance!