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Increasing Number of Educated but Unemployed Youth: A “TIME BOMB” for Papua New Guinea

Updated on February 28, 2016

Jobs Are Scarce

Jobs are scarce these days all over the world. As the clock is ticking by, the rate of unemployment is increasing exponentially.

We see that employers are now thinking more about minimizing the costs and maximising their profits. We see that machines such as computers and robots are replacing people. Corporate mergers, liquidation, downsizing and rightsizing of companies and government and non-government organizations have all played critical roles in the increase of unemployment. Out-sourcing and off-shoring have seen thousands of jobs being farmed out to short-term workers and those who come from countries where the cost of labour is perceived to be low. Nepotism is also rife within both the public and the private sectors.

A typical signboard in Papua New Guinea
A typical signboard in Papua New Guinea

Too many Job Seekers, Not Enough Jobs

In Papua New Guinea, the number of people coming out of the education system by far exceeds the number of jobs created by the government and the private sector. It is estimated that out of every five that graduate from high schools, colleges or universities, only one will be able to secure a paid job each year. The education system is producing workers at a much faster rate than employers can produce jobs. In simple terms, there are too many workers chasing too few jobs, as stated by Tiri W. Kuimbakul.

In the past, a diploma or degree holder is guaranteed a paid job. Employers go chasing for graduates. This is, sadly, not the case today. There are so many degree holders in the country today who cannot find a paid job after graduating. Employers no longer chase after degree holders. It is the exact opposite. Hundreds or even thousands of degree holders chase after one paid job.

Educated but Unemployed Youth: A “TIME BOMB”

Every year, the Department of Education produces a very large army of educated, unemployed, frustrated and very angry young men and women in the country. Why? These young men and women were told they would own the whole world when they graduate but in the end they were given nothing.

The army is taking control of the streets. The army is manning the roads and highways. Insecurity is in the air. You cannot walk around freely without constantly looking at your back. PNG is now sitting on a “Time Bomb” and if nothing is done to address the issue of unemployment, this bomb will explode soon. And who knows, the effects would be devastating.

The Job Market is a Buyers’ Market

This brings me to the concept of marketing where there is a buyer and a seller. In markets as we know, the seller brings an item and puts up a price and the buyer buys. The job market is now different. In the past, job seekers put up certain conditions that the employer must agree to in order for the job seeker to sign the contract. This is not the case today.

The job market today is a buyers’ market. This means that employers have the upper hand in dictating the terms and conditions of employment. In markets, where the supply exceeds demand, the price falls. Likewise, when too few jobs are available to so many job seekers, those who are able to get jobs do so at the lowest terms employers can offer.

Employers will pay an employee just enough to keep the employee alive and working. They will not pay their employees enough money to help them cope with the increase in cost of living, school fees, medical care, bills and rental. Your employers will pay you just to make you happy so that you keep coming back to work for them.

You are the one who possess the skills and knowledge that the employers need. Why are you not given the chance to sell your skills and knowledge to the employer? It will be fair if you can sell your skills and knowledge to the employer and the employer shall buy your skills and knowledge.

I am __________________ (Please choose one)

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Being Unemployed is a Blessing in Disguise

Being unemployed is not the end of the world for you. Being unemployed is an opportunity to make yourself become expandable. Do not join the army on the streets too soon. You have time, skills and knowledge. Utilize them and sell them to potential clients. Think of productive ways of earning a living by using all you have learnt in school.

Being employed will limit your capacities to the job description. Being unemployed will make you reach your unlimited potential.

Self-Employment: A Viable Option

I shall conclude this article by letting you know that you would be foolish enough to just limit your thinking to only getting a paid job. If you don’t have very good academic grades, haven’t accumulated decades of experience or have no wantok (someone who knows you) in a position of authority, then you will most likely join the army on the streets.

As discussed, there is no real guarantee that you will get a paid job when you graduate and contesting a job in a job market already flooded by job-seekers leaves a lot to be desired.

You know that you the most important resources that employers want to buy from you. You have time, knowledge and skills. You can utilize these three important assets to make ends meet. You sell your skills and knowledge to clients and have more control over your time. Sometimes you can make more money in a day compared to someone’s fortnight. Sometimes you won’t make any money at all. The good thing about being self-employed is that you will be the one selling your skills, knowledge and time.

Map of Papua New Guinea


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