Business of unemployment: The lure of filthy lucre (1)

(By Egwu Ben Obasi)

Unemployment, a situation, which arises where people who fall within the ages of the working population, capable and willing to work, are unable to obtain befitting work, manifests in various ways. They include underemployment where potentialities of workers are not fully utilised; frictional unemployment where people fail to get another job after leaving one; structural unemployment arising from slight changes in the country’s industrial structure; voluntary unemployment that is deliberate; residual unemployment suffered by people who have low efficiency standards; and technological unemployment, among others.

BUSINESS, as a means of living, is usually undertaken to make our existence worthwhile through needs satisfaction. Business is meant to be carried out with all sense of high ethics, and in consideration of the feelings of the customers and other relevant parties. Since the unemployed is not a business partner, the issue of ethics is completely out of it but that of conscience. Business studies have revealed the large number of job applicants and their desperation as a potential business avenue. We must be sensitive enough to know that we cannot source from the pocket of the needy, which the job applicants represent.

  Students going through various courses of study are propelled by the expectation of quality of life that would result from employment including decent life style and being people of worth in the society. Sadly enough, happenings in our society make the above a tall dream for these youths.

   Conscious of the fact that excellent performance is the gateway to securing gainful employment, they toil tirelessly during their courses with the ultimate goal of passing with high grades. It is not unusual to see students make first class and second class upper divisions in degree examinations. Also, they aspire to come out in Upper Credit in Higher National Diploma examinations and Distinctions in NCE examinations.

  Students who are known to regularly read newspapers are very much aware of the stakes in employment market through job advertisements. Due to years of experience usually set above their reach, their resort is to make excellent grades, which may compensate for the several years of experience often demanded. Job advertisements now require that applicants for positions in most organisations must make First Class, Second Class Upper or HND Upper Credit to be suitable for the advertised positions. Most students meet these requirements but frustrations easily set in when the much expected employment fails to come years after graduation even in the face of myriad of expectations. The consequences of these are dire as they suffer psychological, social, and economic problems or deprivations that result from unemployment.

  Unemployment, a situation, which arises where people who fall within the ages of the working population, capable and willing to work, are unable to obtain befitting work, manifests in various ways. They include underemployment where potentialities of workers are not fully utilised; frictional unemployment where people fail to get another job after leaving one; structural unemployment arising from slight changes in the country’s industrial structure; voluntary unemployment that is deliberate; residual unemployment suffered by people who have low efficiency standards; and technological unemployment, among others.

  Totality of the above as they affect the youths is far-reaching. Idle hands, we are told, are the devil’s workshop. This holds true as crime rates escalate with attendant threat to peace and security. Persistent manpower waste, unfulfilled needs, feeling of lack of sense of self-worth, inferiority among peers and antisocial tendencies are other commonly associated manifestations. Drain of useful brains and talents off our shores to develop other countries also become daily sad commentaries.

   In view of the consequences of unemployment, efforts must be made by the government to address this cankerworm by taking industrialisation seriously through guaranteeing enduring power supply and developing alternative power source, e.g. solar; reinvigorating agriculture, providing social amenities to discourage rural-urban drift; crafting and implementing good development policies, addressing population questions, making education functional, and providing unemployment palliatives in form of social security benefits.

  Politicians and those in authority, on their parts, should desist from making unfulfilled promises that push the unemployed into vengefulness. It has been established, rightly or wrongly, that their actions or inactions, omissions or commissions, have collectively triggered off this unemployment situation. Unemployment, we should all know is like the masquerade we have tacitly robed which has turned around to harass life out of us. We cannot make it worse by creating more monstrous situations. We must endeavour to extricate ourselves from this albatross by striving to do things differently; desisting from further infesting the employment space with corrupt tendencies and expiating where possible, the accumulated inhumanity visited on this sorry group of Nigerians.  Fleecing the disadvantaged job applicants in a country blessed with abundant wealth flaunted, amounts to meddling with the hornet’s nest; romancing with time bomb, and toying with a keg of gunpowder.

   Opportunistic Nigerians are not sparing this army of unemployed in our society. They employ all manner of con means to exploit job applicants. They have taken their tactics to the internet where they advertise their websites and require the job seekers to register and forward their CVs and pay as much as N2, 000 to be offered even non-existent jobs. How then do they raise this much? This is exploitation!

  People milk and sap job seekers dry by demanding that they pay thousands of Naira into certain accounts for the purpose of offering them employment. Frustrations usually push them into responding in droves and the con employers smile into the banks to access these huge sums of money purportedly paid for purchase of employment forms for jobs that are not offered at last. This is exploitation!

   Some companies, notably a few insurance companies, advertise for sales jobs penetratingly up to church bulletins for sales jobs that require HND, Degree and MBA degree holders to apply. These categories of unemployed are made to go through training on completion of which they are pushed into the field to canvass for prospects absolutely without transport fares for the purpose. They are expected to fund their movements. With what? One may ask. They are ‘gratuitously’ promised confirmation as staff based on the achievement of set astronomical targets. One does not have to wonder the hazards most ladies involved are exposed to in order to realise this. Those who sell products other than services, merchandise them for next to nothing as remuneration. This is exploitation!

   Similar other horrendous cases involving exploitation of the disadvantaged job seekers abound. There has been alleged jobs-for-sale scam bearing varying price tags running into hundreds of thousands of naira per job slot. Road Safety Commission, sometime ago, allegedly charged as much as N1000 for the sale of its recruitment forms. Other government agencies and parastatals are equally guilty of these varying charges for the few available job vacancies. An organisation in a south-eastern state for example, had promised 10,000 jobs made possible with the purchase of N2000 per job scratch card.

To be continued.

• Obasi is of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu, Ebonyi State.  

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