Unemployment: Challenge of 21st century

BY: Tim Dzamboe

The number of unemployed youth is a frightening and a sad phenomenon.

Many parents sponsored the education of their children with the hope to recover their investments when they got jobs, but that hope has not materialised.

In fact, the exceptionally large numbers that sit annually for remedial examinations of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is an indication of the large army of unemployed youth.

Also, the large queues that at regional capitals for recruitment into the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), the Ghana Prisons Service, the Ghana Immigration Service(GIS), the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service(CEPS) and allied security services are always worrying scenes.

The many applications for the American Visa Lottery programme also attests to the employment deficit in the country that compels the unemployed youth to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Get rich

Some youth have taken to politics since it has become the shortest path to riches without hard work.

Some workers entrenched in the past and compensated have been thought to use the money to create employment opportunities for the youth, but that has also not been the case, as many of them use what they get to engage in the buying and selling business, instead of the productive sectors of the economy.

Past and present governments have frozen employment in the civil and public service, making some youth too who want to enter the service mark time and wait for providence to get them employed.


A cause of unemployment is the over enrolment of students in courses, such as accountancy and marketing for the Higher National Diploma (HND) in the polytechnics, with no jobs available for them when they graduate.

In a constrained and narrow job market, retired personnel in the civil and public service continue to forcibly take employment contracts after attaining the pension age at 60, competing with their sons and daughters, who have completed school and are looking for jobs.

The award of contracts to such people who had gone on pension must, therefore, be discouraged.

The argument that the pension age should be extended above 60 years is counter productive because it is not in the best interest of the youth getting employed.

The National Youth Agency (NYA) needs to be looked at again for secure and sustainable jobs to the young ones.

It is high time for the government and its parastatals to sit up to rescue the teeming unemployed youth from frustration.

Let us take a cue from members of the security services, who retire and do not seek re-appointment within their units.