Something to Ponder

SA job situatiion
Tankiso Motaung, an unemployed South African university graduate, takes his hunt for a job to the street in Johannesburg. The Star/Paballo Thekiso

The Job Situation

The South African government, like every other government in the world is dogged by the problem of unemployment. The elusive job creation magic wand is not as easy to find especially in our time. More young people are graduating from the institutions of learning that the job market can absorb them. From  Europe, the Americas to Asia and Africa governments are grappling with the situation of a rising number of jobless citizens each year. Like President Ramaphosa promised last night during the SONA, leaders the world over give promises of thousands of job opportunities to be created by their governments but this pie-in-the-sky has remained just so year in, year out.

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe launched a youth program in NASREC on Monday. The program will be focusing on getting young people involved in technology that will enanble them to take part in the digitally driven economy. Motlanthe’s foundation will be launching the program in partnership with the Gauteng provincial government on Monday as the country observes youth month. This is the way to go. The world we live in now is a digital world and if there be any jobs to be found, they will be in the digital market. The former President’s call on the young people to pursue studies in digital technology and entertainment, could not have come at a more opportune time. He advised that those with digital technology skills would have an added advantage in the highly competitive job market under the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The former president said the Fourth Industrial Revolution would not take away jobs but rather create new ones in other sectors.

South Africa needs to rethink the job market and what it entails and educate her citizens on the current job market trends. First of all, white and blue collar jobs in offices should not be viewed as the only jobs available. When people realize they do not necessarily have to be formally employed to earn a living, then, they can start to think outside the box. The youth especially can and should be taught to be resourceful. They have the whole world in the palm of their hands. Instead of playing games, messaging and watching videos, they should understand their phones are a powerful tool that can be used to make money.

What am I saying? An electronic gadget like the phone, labtop, ipad or desktop computer can be used to earn money. Online jobs, blogging, forex trading are some of the activities that young people can grasp quickly and offer their skills to the world market online. Marketing goods, using social media as the very powerful marketing tool that it is and reaching out to millions of people worldwide has become the backbone of online business. The wise and bright youngsters of these days are on the phone using Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts to spread the word of their products. Customers are sourced from all over the world not just the local market.

This way, the enlightened ones are raking in millions of dollars the world over. These people are not sitting waiting for their governments to create jobs to employ them. Some young people are paying their way through college offering tutoring lessons online to those who need the skills they posses. China has become a very big consumer of English lessons and those who can and are willing are able to offer such lessons on a part-time basis or fulltime.  There are companies who engage people to write product reviews for their merchandise, others need people to write press releases and so on.

There are people who follow their passion and find themselves making a living out of something they love like a hobby. Baking, pottery, drawing, singing, there is always someone needing something that is good and on offer. What our youth need to be taught is how to identify a need and then come up with a solution and know how to market themselves.  A well presented offering of home baked confectionery, photographed and captioned profesionary, then presented on Facebook, or a well produced song on YouTube are bound to attract some customers. Sitting and waiting for the government to magically create millions of jobs for every South African needing employment and at the rate at which universities and tertiary places of learning are churning out graduates is just not feasible. It is high time we woke up and faced reality. No government anywhere has been able to provide a solution for every problem that faces their people, but they try. It is time the citizenry also thought and came up with ideas to help themselves and help meet the government halfway. If more people, especially the youth could find ways of self-employing themselves and maybe 2 or 3 others, the level of frustration would go down and so would crime.

We can do this South Africa!