The seriousness of unemployment in the country was visible yesterday in Lilongwe as thousands of desperate youths thronged Golden Peacock Hotel for job interviews for positions such guards, waiters and waitresses.
Long queues began to form at the Chinese run hotel in City Centre as early as 6 o’clock in the morning after news went viral on social network that the hotel would be recruiting people with a minimum qualification of a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), for positions such as bartenders, stewards, security guards, receptionist, food beverage supervisors, cleaners, and room services personnel.
A visit to the hotel around 8 o’clock in the morning by The Daily Times found young people of the ages between 16- 25 years as well as older women and men who were shoving and fuming at each other as they struggled to find space on the long queue, whilst carrying envelopes containing certificates.
Some of the youths were too shy to be interviewed or have photos of them taken but the few brave ones blamed government for only paying lip service to the increasing challenges the youths are facing.
Said one youth: “Government is not doing enough to help us the youth, you can see from the people who are here that the situation is serious. There is no equality in how people are getting jobs in the country, those in government are only employing people basing on tribe and where one is coming from.
“Recently, some of us tried our luck to be recruited by the police but we were sent back.”
Another young lady who did not want to be named said she holds a diploma in accounting but she still wanted to try her luck for the position of receptionist because she has very little options remaining.
“Government should help us, we are suffering and there is no hope for us, are we really the leaders of today or tomorrow?” she wondered.
On his part, Principal Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Labour Patrick Kabambe admitted that the challenge of unemployment has reached alarming levels in the country adding that over 70 percent of the youth are unable to get jobs on the market.
The PS explained that, that is the more reason government has intensified initiatives such us community colleges so as to impart the necessary skills to young people who in turn can start their own businesses and employ others in the process.
“We can’t move forward as a country if we all depend on white collar jobs, this is a fact. Majority of these young people who are finishing form 4 or the few who are graduating from universities lack skills and that is why we now want to focus on skills development, whether its carpentry, agriculture, fishing , the youths have to be self reliant.” he said.
According to Malawi National Human Development Report (2015), employment participation in the country is not inclusive,
Reads the report in part, “A highly significant proportion of women (31.6 percent) with secondary education are not employed compared to their male counterparts (16 percent). Again though the young people aged 15-19 years have a lower employment rate of 70.5 percent when compared to other age groups, the figure can be a worrying indicator of young people’s limited access to education, which makes them to drop out and resort to work in order to earn a living.”