OpEd

Nahabwe: Why you should guard that job jealously


Yesterday, more about I promised to share my reasons why those who have jobs should to their best to keep them or even get better ones while avoiding losing them. This goes to both entrepreneurs and those in employment because for those that “employ’ themselves, its still employment in some way.

Unemployment in Uganda is well beyond 80 percent. Many who are employed be it by themselves (the coveted self-employment) or other forms of work are mostly underemployed.

That naturally means that if you have that job, you are one of the few (less than 20 percent) that has that job. It might not be the best or pay the best but at least you have the basics of food, water, shelter covered. The pay might delay but at least its there.

Imagine if your landlord was knocking and you don’t have any hopes of getting a coin. While you are at it, your wife calls that the kids are admitted to hospital and in the village you get that SMS that your dad’s cows damaged the neighbour’s garden and your elderly mum is at police. Misery loves company!

Also, we have over 10 universities churning out graduates every year. By the time we graduated for the first degree in 2006, the universities were fewer as were the graduates. We were the first to have three days of graduation but now it goes on for a week. Before that, MUK only graduated less than 2000 per year. The same thousands graduate from MUK, KYU, UCU, MUST, KY, KIU, VU, Cavendish etc.

Over 400,000 job seekers are churned out of campuses for less than 10,000 jobs in the country. This has been happened over all these years. Cumulatively, we have over four million qualified job seekers looking for less than 1000 jobs annually.

It’s a scramble for the fittest and technical know-who. Recently, when UNRA advertised, hundreds of thousands applied for less than 100 jobs that were on offer. CVs ended on the streets as wrappers for rRolex (the snack not the watch).

It’s no secret that the economy is bad. With this, the ‘death rate’ of business big and small is accelerated. Less than 10% of the businesses starting make it to their first anniversary. Imagine how many people at Uchumi, Smart Telecom, UTL, Crane Bank, Global Trust Bank, Pure Waragi etc are now joining you on the job hunt. Even worse, not many new businesses are opening. A few years back, the banks were coming in, the telecoms, the cosmetic companies were growing. Now, its in reverse mode. What that means to jobs is obvious.

Technology and automation has not helped the bad situation. Then comes the issues of machines replacing people. The job of 100 people can be done better by one machine at a more reliable and consistent rate. Banks in Uganda used to be big time employers. Now, banks are closing branches and replacing them with Automated machines (ATMs). We line up to deposit and withdraw money from a machine. Those are jobs gone.

Recently telecoms laid off hundreds of engineers after masts were taken over by multinationals such as EATON towers. So,all telecoms can now sublet on one mast rendering the engineers jobless. IT professionals were not spared. Most telecoms now outsource IT divisions to Chinese Huawei or Indians. It’s tough.

High cost of doing business: A friend who is knowledgeable about the economy tell me that about 2007, the cost of power was more than doubled. This coupled with the East African community common market agreement saw tax harmonized across the region at 10 percent. Companies moved to Kenya and production happens there and we only be the market. With the likes of BAT, BATA and others moving, went our jobs making the bad situation worse.

Bad Education system: Education in Uganda is not market oriented. The biggest classes are universities are Business administration, Social Sciences, political science etc. We now have quite a number of lawyers also coming out. But what are the opportunities. Who does the market need? We are producing non marketable degree holders. Strangely vet and agriculture have very few yet we have 80 percent of our population engaged in Agriculture. There, it would be easy to be gainfully employed.

So with the above and more, its much harder to get a job once you lose one. What’s funny is that employers prefer to employ people with a job than an one who hasn’t been in employment. Studies have showed actually that employers are more likely to discard someone who has been out of employment for more than six months than one who is still employed.

Chances of reemployment get smaller as time out of employment increases. Could be that out of job, you lose touch with day today running of business, lose connections, can’t be smart and look sharp at job interviews etc.

Aware that time out of employment has far-reaching negative consequences of job loss including possibility of not getting another job, family strain, stress, lower quality of life for one and the dependents, reduced access to health education, nutrition etc. of the individual and dependents, it’s wise to take care of your job. It’s easier to look for better jobs when still employed after all.

Let me go to Amnesia to ensure my job doesn’t go. Imagine how many people would be affected if this job was lost? come and help a brother keep a job. Thanks

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