Unemployment is an issue common in many parts of the world. It was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and occupied Palestine in 2019.
According to a survey, Pakistan’s unemployment slumped fairly in 2007 lowering to 0.4% however it spiked to 4.45% in 2020. Pakistan boasts its percentage of youth while it is a matter of concern that the very youth contributes to a chunk of the country’s unemployment. Its bigger hidden issue is underemployment, which is hardly measured by only a few. According to UNDP’s estimates, Pakistan has 64% of its population young while 29%
of it is aged between 15 to 29 years. The statistics by International Labor Organiza- tion (ILO) show that 8.54% of this youth is unemployed. While the figures are flabber- gasting, one may wonder why a major chunk of flattering youth makes no contri- bution to the country’s economy.
Not to mention the mental and social devastation this cohort has to endure. The common causes highlighted by Abdul Qayyum in 2007 in his research comprised the structural unemployment itself to be the reason of urban unemploy- ment while others include faulty adminis- tration culpable for lagging behind in
emphasized policies to minimize the problem in the first place, chiefly in rural areas.
Recently emerged sectors like real estate, drinking or bottled water, security agencies, IT and software, higher education and universities, secondary education, FM radio & electronic media and other sectors have grown huge to consume the unemployed youth in urban areas. But the absence of training mechanism for students to allow them what the market needs too is responsible for the perpetuation of unemployment in urban settings despite gaining higher education. The study found, inter alia, a diminutive part of Pakistan owns resources to lead extremely luxurious life while others are subjugated with their lower incomes and remain depressed economically.
Either this strata remains deprived of opportunities or if at all they get any their wages are so meagre that the subsistence becomes difficult. Among these victims are our passionate young people who despite their acquired proficiencies and devotion to thrive end up with despair. The unemployment remains at the hand of low wages and absence of training mechanism for youth to make them aware of demand of the market. There is a huge gap between demand and supply, found the researcher.
In a focus group discussions, in research done by Iqbal & Khaleeq in 2013 identified interesting experiences of educated youth. According to the study, young people who do not know influential people are not prioritized in job market. Similarly, in government sector, if one wants to be appointed at a position they have to spend some amount of money (bribe) to get the job. This trend has internalized to an extent that it is not deemed offensive and the ones who still possess something called a conscience are forced to pay the money since they have no choice.
Not to forget, these practices have been highlighted in a scientific research. Additionally, private sector demands prior work experience for the job, identified the same study. Young graduates feel dejected when encountered with such cul-de-sacs. Not only no institution trains the youth for the demands of the market, they are not even made aware of what skills may help them to survive. What will help them? Paying off? Or their family members on high posts? Or, is it the experience they will never acquire sitting home?
It is about time that some heed was paid to what unemployment puts our youth through. The bubble of family and friends being supportive of the ones who get to have no employment options readily available needs to be popped. Fresh graduates with amicable communication skills with no employment are told that they are a failure after a couple of years. The distinction of urban and rural societies having different responses to educated unemployed youth does not exist. A research that was conducted in rural areas of Khyber Paktunkhuwa by a bunch of Sociologists in 2020 showed that young people who had at least a master degree but no employment were not only condemned but also stigmatized by the very family, friends and the community at large.
Since these young people who have spent at least 16 years of their lives learning things that no one needs in the outside world, they have to suffer through the persistent social pressure for acquiring a reasonable permanent employment which is not entirely their own fault. No one in their social circle apprehends that perhaps the system or the ones in market have contributed to their ‘failure’.
Well thanks to the modernization, the role of women has become complicated than it used to be in primitive times. All they had to do was grow up, get married, give birth to off springs and nurture them well at home. Now, no matter if you are a protago- nist of liberal feminism or not, inflation and education requires women to work for the sustenance in working class.
Although the Islamic ideology, based on which Pakistan came into being, does not regard a woman to be the provider, she is expected to be making big as well. Young girls after some time of graduation are constantly hammered with the similar questions and equally agonizing pressure by their families in addition the question ‘when are you getting married?’
While it is hard to situate the blame for perpetuation of unemployment of educated youth, suffice it to say that we as a society needs to stop considering the problem of unemployment as heinous transgression. Rather we, as a social circle of the youth, need to prepare our children for what is coming up and support them instead of shattering their spirits. On the other hand, our government needs to take the statistics seriously, ponder upon what studies are highlighting and concoct some emphasized policies to curb the issue and take measures to form training mechanisms to direct the youth to the right path.