Ghana has a Youth Unemployment Problem. Here’s How to Fix it.
In a documentary aired by UTV, a television network in Ghana, a young man who recently graduated from the University of Cape Coast with an advanced degree in Education was selling toiletries on the streets to make a living. Why? Because he was unable to secure a job in his field.
College graduate unemployment is high in Ghana due to corrupt practices by employers. Hiring managers are bribed to shortlist candidates. Nepotism exacerbates the issue as unqualified candidates are hired based on their connections. Further, such corrupt practices are prevalent at the governmental level, where jobs are highly volatile as political parties exert significant influence in the hiring process.
In Ghana— a patriarchal society— a man is considered a “man” only when he is financially stable. His inability to secure a job affects him emotionally and psychologically. In such societies, men become desperate for a job— adding undue burden on half of the population.
Addressing recent graduate unemployment is the key to a brighter Ghana. The government of Ghana should enact reforms targeted at tackling corrupt hiring practices while restructuring the educational system and enriching young professionals with resources to succeed.
The government should establish an impartial mechanism to monitor hiring processes. This would be an effective way to mitigate corrupt recruitment practices. The mechanism would ensure that hiring practices are fair by enforcing laws on discrimination and investigating unlawful practices. Also, it would enable employees to report cases of wrongful termination. Such a strategy would ensure transparency and a robust workforce.
Moreover, Ghana’s educational system should be reformed to cater to the growing demands of the job market. The current educational system utilizes a theoretical approach with limited opportunities for students to gain useful, practical skills. Students should have opportunities to learn to write effectively and be required to publish articles for final exams.
Even though college graduates possess a degree, they aren’t appealing to employers due to the lack of professional experience. Educational institutions should provide students with ample opportunities for fieldwork and networking. The government should foster a more rewarding relationship with ECOWAS countries. It should sign a new treaty that permits students to have internships in ECOWAS countries. Through these internships, students would have the opportunity to strengthen their resumes while expanding their networks and increasing their chances of being hired.
Some may argue that such reforms are costly—which is true. However, these reforms are attainable and should be a national priority. The government should include it in its budget and seek support from the international community.
The reform will lead to fairer hiring processes based on qualifications, skills, and expertise. It would decrease unemployment and increase social productivity. The ultimate goal would be to make the best use of Ghana’s talents to create a better future for all of its citizens.