Like most other African countries, Ghana is still struggling with the causes of unemployment in Ghana. A solution to this problem could mean better living conditions for the youth in Ghana as well as other people facing unemployment issues. Its is important for the government to understand that unemployment is a major contributor in the economy of the country not growing as fast as it should.
What is unemployment?
Unemployment can be said to be a phenomenon of job-seeking as a result of joblessness. Simply put, it’s the state of not having a job yet there is a desire and will to work.
There are mainly four causes of unemployment depending on the state and trend of the economy. They include; structural unemployment, classical, cyclical and frictional.
Typically, causes and effects of unemployment in Ghana have become national issues that need to be vehemently addressed. In as much as it is a global concern, its effects in our country have really affected not only our economic sector but political and social aspects as well.
What are the causes of unemployment?
There are various causes of unemployment in countries like Ghana. The common one being our education curriculum. The free education system may be a way of reducing the level of illiteracy, but then again, it does not fully conform to the contemporary economic concerns. It focuses more on theory lessons rather than imparting relevant practical and professional skills needed in the job market.
This generation is characterized by a fast advancing world in the technological sector and hence highly demands competent and well-versed employees to handle current progressions. The curriculum is basically not flexible enough for an inter-generation gap.
Aside from that, the white collar job mentality is also one of the causes of graduate unemployment in Ghana. Graduates are made to believe that seeking formal employment in a well-reputed establishment is a golden ticket to being successful in life. This makes them desperate in competing for the few vacancy slots the companies have to offer. This is what analysts professionally refer to demand-deficient unemployment since the number of graduates is certainly bigger than the available supply of jobs.
This mentality may be contributed to the yet again, the defective system. There is lack of vocational support and training facilities needed to make our youth more of job creators rather than job seekers. The curriculum puts much emphasis on academic and bookish knowledge while turning a blind eye to practical training for entrepreneurial benefits. It’s from such negligence that many of our youth, especially from rural setup have no clue on possible areas of employment or even an ideal choice of occupation.
The other cause, still on education, maybe from the fact that less than a quarter of the working age citizens as of 2010 have acquired secondary education or better. This figure is very low taking into account that ‘white collar’ is the order of the day and people only rely on paid jobs.
Anyway, still on statistics, manufacturing jobs and agriculture tend to be employing a higher number compared to mining and finance. This consequently contributes to the seasonal layoffs as in agricultural jobs, where they depend on planting and harvesting seasons for their employment programmes. While the other times, they are left jobless. Generally, for a speedy growth of the economy, mining and oil extraction needs to be on top of the list on the job recruitment exercise now that we have several projects conducted in various parts of the country.
Still, in the work environment, our country has shifted from labor intensive to capital intensive. Ghana-just like any other African country-has abundant supply of labor and general workforce, yet industries rely on automated machines and other sophisticated equipment for production. This also goes all the way to the agriculture sector where assuming, ought to be employing a higher number of workforce.
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Well, capital-intensive is usually considered economically progressive, but then again, it’s a technique used in western developed countries-where capital is abundant in supply. There is actually a mutual balance between capital and labor intensive methods unlike many African states like Ghana for instance.
Corruption and embezzlement of funds have also immensely contributed to the high rate of unemployment among the youth. Some of our officials are not very honest. They use public funds for their personal gains. The funds that are meant for development purposes in various economic sectors, end up in their pockets. With this trend, we will definitely never move forward- not as fast as we would love to.
What are the effects of unemployment?
Effects of youth unemployment in Ghana has truly been noticed. Judging from the political unrest and rise in social problems, things are escalating really fast. When people become unemployed for long, they tend to lose their faith in governments and democratic principles, Ghana is no different. People tend to demonstrate and organize strikes on regular basis demanding for jobs, opportunities or even end of corruption and misuse of funds. The University of Ghana just recently demonstrated along major streets demanding for job opportunities. Such actions gradually lead to political instability and tension in the country.
Robbery, prostitution, bribery among other vices are also bred due to lack of job opportunities. People look for money through whichever means possible and hence crime rate will consequently increase with the rise in unemployment rate. This makes our country to be chaotic as social security is certainly jeopardized.
Social security is not the only thing at risk. When a man is deprived of his source of income, he obviously grows poor. When poverty rate shoots up high, the economy is also in great threat. Economy growth slows down as people shift to subsistence means of livelihood to fend for their personal needs.
Slums also tend to mushroom gradually as people search for cheap ways to survive. This also characterizes unhygienic living conditions and over exploitation of public resources. Rural-urban migration even makes it worse, as people leave their unexploited land to crowd in urban areas.
In a state where people are desperately looking for work, exploitation becomes a common habit. There is neither economic nor social justice. Laborers are paid low wages, not equivalent to the kind of work they have worked for. This is not to mention an excessive number of hours scheduled for work.
Ever heard of brain drain? Due to a high level of unemployment, citizens would be glad to offer their valuable human resource services to another country other than their own. This will cripple down the country, either socially or economically while the other one flourishes. This is usually common among very crucial professional careers such as engineers, teachers, and doctors.
Solutions to unemployment
Unemployment in Ghana can as well be said to be a crisis, and there is obviously a need to address this menace, before our country turns chaotic. The best way to tackle it is by asking one simple question; What is the main cause of unemployment? Finding a solution to a question that rings in your mind from time to time, is a lot easier than constantly complaining about the outcomes.
To begin with, the education curriculum needs an intensive review. It currently plays a crucial role in the causes of unemployment among graduates. People should be trained to have transferable skills that match the contemporary needs. Graduates need to be competent and highly skilled to the job they are actually applying for. Whenever there is a change in the industries, curricula should as well shift with the trend. Being static is what has caused many graduates their jobs-especially computer based.
More attention should also be put in vocational and training institutions. Quite a number of unemployed youth are roaming around the jobless corners, simply because they lack adequate skills for either self-employment or working for a corporate. Empowering such people with knowledge, even though they may have never completed their tertiary level, would really aid in curbing this challenge.
On the same note, the government should also try to encourage expansion of informal sector to boost productivity as well as income. The ‘white color’ mentality should be scrapped off from these millennial. An initiative should also be launched to encourage the youth to borrow government loans for their small businesses. Being self-employment may definitely be the solution we need after all.
As for the small and emerging local firms, the government should also support their growth through various measure such as cutting down interest rates, road construction, issuing of grants to their businesses and generally encourage spending. It is these businesses that employ our local citizens and also improve our economy and hence need recognition.
Use of other techniques such as Swedish model could also be helpful in dealing with our crisis. This could be done through improving techniques for accumulation and broadcasting of information on the kind of jobs available. For instance, in Swedish model, job centers have a nationwide combined database of employers, jobs and available employees on the unemployment roll. Such mutual sharing of information would put so many qualified unemployed youths in the spotlight.
In conclusion, the government should also encourage patriotism and a sense of national duty. Citizens leaving their mother country when they are highly needed for another state should be discouraged. Fortunately, initiatives such as National Service Scheme are significantly promoting that sense of duty.