most graduates do find jobs

So despite the vicissitudes of the global economy and the frightening fact that the South African economy is unlikely to grow beyond 2% in the immediate future, our graduates find jobs.

It is not a good argument to point to your friend Lennie who has a degree but no job, or the taxi driver from Congo who has a PhD. Individual cases cannot displace aggregate data for graduate employment.

Furthermore, the reasons for such persons not being employed at the level of their qualification, or at all, are often complex. Most (not all) graduates without jobs lack something that the degree cannot provide — like personal self-confidence, positive attitudes towards work, willingness to “start at the bottom” and work their way upwards.

Some of the “jobless graduates” passed with minimal marks or failed one of more years during degree studies, or are simply not being good in interview situations. A PhD without a decent job might be a foreigner without “papers” or a local without those broader skill sets.

Imagine a PhD student who in this day and age cannot create an Excel spreadsheet in his sleep, or cannot do an advanced search for bibliographic materials within minutes, or whose sour face suggests he lost a relative. I would never hire such a person regardless of the scroll under his arms.

In other words, the qualification is one thing but you’ve got to “show up” if you expect employment in an economic downturn and in contexts where the competition is fierce.

There is this thing called “attitude” that no degree can prepare you for.

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