I have had somewhat of a privileged career, I must confess …
However, over the years I have always considered others who perhaps weren’t so ‘lucky’ or ‘privileged’ and wondered why they weren’t or what they should/could have done about it.
All through my years in consulting and even now, I conducted a few interviews and was equally part of a couple of large recruitment projects for different clients across all sectors of the Nigerian Economy; for entry-level candidates, experienced hires as well as highly specialized roles. These experiences further aroused my curiosity and added to my ever-increasing list of disturbing questions on the subject of Jobs!
I met so many willing, capable, qualified, unqualified, and sometimes desperate candidates with limited openings available.
A meeting with a particular lady will never leave my memory. She broke down in tears right in front of me in response to the question; ‘Tell me why you are the most deserving or qualified for this opening seeing we have quite a number of candidates waiting in line to be interviewed?’ She just couldn’t answer but cried out of genuine desperation.
While trying to console and calm her down, a member of the recruitment team walked in with the interviewee’s daughter because she needed mummy’s attention badly. She did pull herself together after a short while and we got on with the interview. I must say I was quite impressed but, later discovered during our conversation that her husband just lost his job a few weeks back and was coming from another job interview to join her to be interviewed as well since they knew our firm recruits for a number of organizations.
These humbling experiences made a strong impression on me and also started a conversation in my heart about Jobs. Are there things the entire HR community, government agencies, and well-meaning individuals can/should do ‘more’ to address grey areas/
Other questions include;
- Why is there so much unemployment in Nigeria and Africa at large, in spite of increasing Foreign Direct Investments into the Continent?
- Isn’t under-employment becoming a greater challenge within the Continent considering prevailing working conditions, limiting career options, dwindling margins, and changing Industry dynamics in certain sectors of the Economy?
- Do we have reliable and relevant data on the job market?
- Can we be a bit more strategic with job creation by studying sectors/emerging industries of the future and the required changes in terms of new skills, new technology demands, etc
- How do we track economic developments in other countries and cross border job opportunities associated with it? etc..
These questions are complex and challenge enormous but, so are the opportunities we have to proffer applicable solutions. This #answering the ‘job’ question series is my own little attempt at directing attention to these issues. I have no idea what this will grow into or how many questions we will be able to address over time but, I’m willing to make this an ‘open but, structured conversation’ that will possibly help one or two along the way.