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The Graduate Struggle is Real – No job, No Money

We live in a country where youth unemployment has reached some of the highest on the Globe. We live in a country where our clients are looking for quality employment equity graduates and even with high unemployment, are struggling to attract the caliber they are looking for. Once they have attracted them, they can’t retain them.

As an employer or an interviewer have you given any thought to the struggles these graduates face when looking for a job? Have you considered the fact they are not all ‘previously disadvantaged’, many are currently STILL disadvantaged?
Perhaps you have, if you have, what are we doing about it?

What does this mean for the currently struggling graduate…?

  1. Most do not have a laptop or internet at home. At res/local libraries they share a network that often cuts them off when they are all logged in trying to do their research. Therefore, most of the internet exposure is via phone.


  1. It costs money to apply for jobs, money for transport, money for internet cafes, and money for appropriate clothing. Many of our graduates do not have the means to buy a suit for the interview, never mind the right outfit for the first month while they wait for their first paycheque. We had a candidate that we placed at a top Asset Manager, his first question once the excitement of the offer sank in, was what am I going to wear to work every day?


  1. Transport; yes, there are taxis, trains, etc. however they are often overcrowded, people queue up for a taxi or a train and get up at extreme hours just to get to work on time. They may not have had time to eat breakfast that morning and if they did, it may not have been all that nutritious. Many of these unemployed graduates are starting their commute at 4/5am to make an 8 am interview. Have you considered how many interviews you have in your process; can you condense the process, and have you given the candidate enough notice to get transport money together to get to you?


  1. Many candidates are intimidated by applying at big brands. They are not sure if they are good enough. It can be incredibly intimidating, even if you are a top-achieving graduate to walk into your corporate fancy reception, full of people in their smart/branded clothes. Many do not have parents that work in a corporate environment. How are you engaging with Graduates? How is your brand perceived? Are you sending people dressed in smart suits to Universities? Maybe a less formal approach would be better?

If we want to talk about retention, then we need to think about the struggles that these candidates face every day, not just to get the job but the challenges they face once they do and while trying to integrate into this corporate world. Are we doing enough to enable inclusion, to support people making the transition from perhaps living in and attending a rural or township school, attending University and then just expecting them to fit in? Could this not be apart of our retention issue? Are you building loyalty with your graduates? We know this generation likes to feel like they are part of something bigger. What are you doing to engage them with your business?

This is not the case for every graduate, however, there is a large population of graduates that are keen, willing to work and just need a hand extended to guide them through the process. They may not have all received distinctions, each person needs to be looked at as an individual if you want to get the best people over the line for your business and keeping them.

We live in a unique country with unique challenges that require unique solutions.

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