Degree won’t land the job

2012-01-13 00:00

A POPULAR song says “It’s all about the money, money!” but many students won’t get jobs even if they get a degree.

Research has shown that the supply does not match the demand for jobs available. Many students think a degree will improve chances of landing a job — not necessarily.

The average tertiary institution costs up to R20 000 a year, and the drop-out rate for first year students is more than half.

If you want to improve your chances of getting a job, then heed the advice from researchers who identified the top areas where there are skills deficits.

When it comes to earning top dollar you cannot beat electricians, mechanics and plumbers. These skills are highly sought after.

Motor mechanics and building contractors are also in demand, you can get training at a local FET (Further Education and Training) college for a lot less than a university fee. Here the focus is on the practical aspects of the trade.

Nurses and teachers are sorely in demand and many institutions will pay while students learn, especially if they apply to study at a state training facility.

Dr Johan Erasmus, who wrote Skills Shortages in South Africa: Case Studies of Key Professions, said: “South Africa’s skills shortages are blamed for preventing the achievement of the country’s targeted six percent growth rate.

“A shortage of professionals and artisans in particular need to be seen in relation to a number of issues — the country’s apartheid history, as well as attempts to rectify historical imbalances. There is also international skills shortages and the global market.”

The book examines ten different key areas where skills are needed.

Erasmus said, “We have seen an embattled education system, which is still struggling to overcome decades of dysfunction under apartheid; the decline of the apprenticeship system which has led to a shortage of artisans.

“Also a loss of skills at management level due to accelerated affirmative action and many people have emigrated due to declining working conditions.

“International recruitment alleviates shortages in recipient countries, but exacerbates them in donor countries, which are often developing countries that cannot compete in terms of satisfactory salaries and working conditions, “he said.

Social commentator Jean Harrison said that South Africa was not the only country to suffer from a top heavy academic matriculation.

She said, “It is not fashionable these days to be a working class artisan. The youth aspire to jobs that are upwardly mobile and that means a desk and a suit.”

She said many students had struggled through school and missed their vocational strengths based on a set of phoney values.

“At the end of the day the plumber earns more than the chartered accountant, but he does not have the same social standing in the community.”

Key areas where there are shor­tages: town planning, retail and sales, nursing, teaching, office administration, management, information technology, law, social work, medicine and artisan trades.

One of the issues identified by Erasmus and co-author Dr Mignon Breier is the lack of appropriate guidance counselling at school.

Students have no idea what certain careers entail or if they have a real interest in the field of study.

Liezl Corbitt from Pronel Recruitment agency said, “We can place artisans very quickly. Their skills are in huge demand and they can afford to be fussy. On the office administration side we can find jobs very quickly. Most girls don’t seem to think a secretarial job is a good job any more, but the skills are always in demand. Retail jobs come and go regularly and, if you know your way around the office, you will always find something.”

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