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Why Having A Degree Is Not Enough For The Job Market

Why Having A Degree Is Not Enough For The Job Market
Why Having A Degree Is Not Enough For The Job Market

Why having a degree is not enough for the job market – Data from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana shows that only 10 percent of graduates find jobs after their first year of completing school and that it may take up to 10 years for a large number of graduates to secure employment due to varied challenges that range from the lack of employable skills, unavailable capital for entrepreneurship, poor attitudes of graduates toward job opportunities, as well as the low capacities of the industry to absorb them. (www.thebftonline.com)

The unemployment rate in Ghana (2015-2018)

Unemployment refers to the share of the labour force that is without work but available for and seeking employment.

  • Ghana’s unemployment rate for 2018 was 6.71%, a 0.8% increase from 2017
  • Ghana’s unemployment rate for 2017 was 6.63%, a 0.14% decline from 2016
  • Ghana’s unemployment rate for 2016 was 6.77%, a 0.04% decline from 2015
  • Ghana’s unemployment rate for 2015 was 6.81%, a 0.33% increase from 2014.0 Data Source: World Bank

The correlation between higher education grades and employment is weak. The irony of this situation is that while the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance and other sources show that this generation of African youth is the most educated and the best positioned in terms of health and human development, it is also the least able to find jobs after formal education.

Indeed, data suggest that there is a very weak correlation between higher education grades and employment. According to Camilla Rocca, head of research at the Ibrahim Foundation, “this points not only to a mismatch between education and market needs but also to a paucity of skilled jobs due to lack of developed manufacturing and industrial sector”.

Most graduates are half-baked

Graduates from the nation’s universities have been described by employers as half-baked. A recent study by the Ghana Employers Association indicates that the majority of people in Ghana who are looking for work lack basic information and technology (IT) skills, as well as, numeracy, listening and time management skills which makes them unemployable, according to Mrs. Susanne Prince-Boateng the Managing Director of Crown Prince Academy (CPA), speaking at the 14th graduation ceremony of the school.

Students are not getting the education they need to prosper in the 21st century.

The World Economic Forum in their 2015 report titled New Vision for Education noted the following; “our study of nearly 100 countries reveals large gaps in selected indicators for the [attainment of the 16 most critical 21st skills] – between developed and developing countries, among countries in the same income group and within countries for different skill types. These gaps are clear signs that too many students are not getting the education they need to prosper in the 21st century and countries are not finding enough of the skilled workers they need to compete.” (World Economic Forum, 2015 Report)

Two-thirds of Africa’s youth are either over-educated or under-educated.

According to the African Economic Outlook report 2020 by the African Development Bank themed “Developing Africa’s Workforce for the Future”, two-thirds of Africa’s youth are either over-educated or under-educated. With 12 million graduates entering the labour market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, youth unemployment is rising annually, according to the report. The 2020 African Economic Outlook indicates that skill and education mismatches affect youth labour productivity indirectly through wages, job satisfaction, and job searching. Over-educated African youth earn, on average, 18 percent less than youth with the same level of education who work in jobs that match their education. Also, youth who believe they are over-skilled for jobs are 3.4 percent less likely to be satisfied with current jobs – and as a consequence may be less productive.


Graduates in addition to their degrees must acquire other skills in other fields of expertise in order to stand out in front of recruiters. It is possible to learn alongside getting your first degree. After you are done with your degree, get some work experience, volunteer, or intern and when you do, you will have a better footing than others in front of recruiters. “You can be anything you want to be but first, you need to move away from a fixed mindset and develop a growth mindset. You also need to constantly learn and relearn”, according to Enyo Dei-Tutu, the HR Manager at Tullow Ghana.

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