Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Truth about Employment – Misconceptions arising from warped thinking

I work for a Member of Parliament from the Opposition. We have a District, Electorate and Colombo office. We have an impossible workload, which we have to manage as efficiently as possible with the limited resources available to us. There are no special perks enjoyed by us and have no lavish allocations that even lowly Government appointees to Quangos enjoy. So when Parliament permitted us to add a member of staff designated as a Research Assistant, purely from the ranks of the Unemployed Graduates, we put a large display advertisement in the Sunday Newspapers. Surprisingly we only received 70 CVs of which only 30 were from unemployed graduates, the population we could select from.

The amount set by parliament to be paid for this position was Rs15,000. This was not mentioned in the advertisement. A suitable person who is up to the task would no doubt obtain a relevant supplement from the MP depending on ability and competence. We found that 3 seemed worthy of interview. 2 females and a male. One already got a job in between. Another called back declining the opportunity for interview, with no specified reasons and the third had close ties to the Govt.

If this advertisement was placed in the US, from a Member of Congress,(the ad did not mention the political affiliation of the MP) it would have generated over 1,500 applications, of people wishing to gain experience and many would work for no pay, just knowing that this experience would be invaluable for their future employment. The fact that reading this ad that specified being an unemployed graduate as the only requirement with other competencies being preferable, as well as a description of the expected variety of tasks that the job entailed, did not garner a greater response indicates the mindset of the job seeker.

I presume that many unemployed graduates are truly unemployable. They are awaiting state sector teaching appointments for which they are not suitable either. A truly dynamic person will not be unemployed at all. This example indicates that helping that category find a job, is just an exercise in futility, and the Govt. misguided in believing they ought to be assisted. They need to be taken back to school to give them training on how to get a job if they truly want one, as the mindset from our education system does not prepare a person to think rationally.

The significance of experience over qualification is lost on youth. Further the importance of initial sacrifice for future gain is not understood, where those seeking their first job are concerned about only income. Anyone wishing to earn a lot of money running seminars called “how find employment” here is your chance.


Kirigalpoththa said...

'where those seeking their first job are concerned about only income' - Fully agree.

Only 3 shortlisted from 30 applicants.. hmmm.. What is wrong with the rest? How did you filter them just looking at a CV?

Anonymous said...

You are a bit wrong about the US numbers. Recently a person I know got a job as an intern at white house and for that particular position, there were more than 200,000 applicants. And that is for a job without a pay! I wonder if the advertisement was in correct medium

Rajaratarala said...

Kiri the 30 who were graduates, half were not considered suitable as they had no knowledge of basic PC use, the other half were weeded for reasons including them not wanting to work in Colombo, though the ad specifically said for a Colombo office.

Magerata for your point, it was in the Sunday Sinhala paper with the largest circulation in Sri Lanka. Surely do you think if we had it in the English paper we would have got a better response from unemployed graduates?

We are actually thinking of putting it in again but changing the wording to exclude the fact that it is for an office of an MP. Somehow it does not seem to resonate well in Sri Lanka!!

Magerata said...

You have surprised me a many times with your posts and thank you for educating us on issues and other stuff, otherwise would never have an opportunity of knowing. Now you have done it with a simple comment; to read, "half (the graduates) were not considered suitable as they had no knowledge of basic PC use" blew my mind, I read, reread to make sure.
How did they get through the college without using a PC?
I was going to suggest to advertise on an internet medium, but will hold back now seeing that not all will access Internet.
I going back to reread your "Education Policy" series on Serendipity.
Your comment totally surprised me a lot and I am in shock. I knew there were initiatives to promote computer in rural schools (and we have sent some to a few schools), but never even considered a University to be without a PC. I did visit University of Peradeniya to look for a job and they had computers in some sections I visited. Perhaps you should add it to your list of reforms, every University student to have English and at least basic computer education. Better, make them compulsory.

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