Meet Your Weekly Moderators:

 

Sarah Huxley, Lead moderator

Sarah Huxley has been passionately and actively engaged in youth focused development work since 1999. She has worked for a range of organistaions including small NGOs, international agencies, DFID and the UN. Much of her work has involved designing and implementing projects, programme management and policy research in Nepal, Uganda & the UK. Sarah's special areas of interest and expertise include participation, youth policy, gender, education and protection.

Week 3: Julian D. May and Kathleen Diga, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Julian May is a Professor in the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, where he completed degrees in economics and development studies, and which is the UN Academic Impact Hub on Poverty. He has worked on poverty reduction policy options and systems for monitoring the impact of policy, including social security grants and land reform in Southern and East Africa and in the Indian Ocean Islands. He is a Research Associate at the Brooks World Poverty Institute, the Comparative Research Program on Poverty, the Department of Social Policy at Oxford University and the South African Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town. He has published extensively, and in August 2009, was awarded a South African Research Chair in Applied Poverty Reduction Assessment by the National Research Foundation.

Kathleen Diga is a PhD candidate and Project Manager under the South African Research Chair Initiative in Applied Poverty Assessment at the School of Development Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her main focus of research is in the poverty and economic dimensions of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). Prior to joining UKZN, Kathleen worked at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as a research officer under the ICT4D Africa (Acacia) initiative in Johannesburg and Nairobi.

Welcome by the weekly moderators, Julian D. May and Kathleen Diga

Welcome to the third week of our e-discussion on youth employment!  Over the last two weeks, we have sought to understand the current job situation and trends, as well as the educational and training needs of young people hoping to join the labour market.  

This week we will be discussing and debating the “who, what, where, why and when” of: looking for a job! We look forward to sharing in your experiences of having tried to find a job, securing your existing job, or preparing to apply for your first job.  

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” - T.S. Eliot. This quote reminds us of some of the challenges of searching for a job. Here in South Africa, we are acutely aware of the difficulties of looking for a job. In February 2011, the South African Institute of Race Relations found that 51% of young people between ages 15 and 24 are unemployed. And the recent ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth: 2011 update shows that there are growing numbers of youth in sub-Saharan Africa who are underemployed and increasingly frustrated.

We want to hear from you about your experiences searching for a job: what has worked? How is the current environment in your country affecting your job search? How can we support each other in staying motivated? To contribute, go to the bottom of this page, and type in the “Post a comment” box; you can also click on the “Reply” button to respond to existing posts. 

Don’t forget that your voice may contribute to the third chapter of the forthcoming online 2011 World Youth Report. So, please indicate in each post the question number you are addressing, your name (first name and initial of last name), age, gender, where you come from and your organization (if any). 

Lastly we thank the United Nations Programme on Youth and United Nations Academic Impact for having us involved! Many thanks! Julian, Kathleen and UKZN team.


La version française du message de bienvenue du moderateur hebdomadaire se trouve dans la section réservée aux commentaires ci-dessous.

La versión española del mensaje de bienvenida del moderador semanal esta en la sección reservada a los comentarios situada más abajo.

Weekly Key Questions

Days & Themes

Questions

Tue

Existing job searching resources

 

 

Personal approaches

1) In your country, what kinds of job guidance initiatives (organizations and resources) exist?
That is: What kinds of support are (or should be) provided by organizations such as these: schools and higher education institutions; governmental offices; civil society organizations; trade unions and employer organizations?
Through mechanisms and resources such as: pre/subsidized employment programmes; job centres and fairs; advice and mentoring programmes; web-based resources; access to labour market information; skills building, etc.?

2) In your experience, what have you used and what was the most helpful?
For example: Do you associate with any networks or forums?

Wed

Accessing the first job

Tips

3) How did you access / secure your first job?
For example: How long did it take you to find the job? What skills or attributes made you stand out? How did you market yourself?

4) What are your top three tips for other young job hunters?

Thurs

Globalization: the current job searching environment

Opportunities & challenges

5) How does globalization have positive and/or negative effects on your – and your friends’ – efforts to secure a job?
For example: Have you moved from home in order to obtain a job? Are you considering the possibility of doing so? How is the current environment in your country affecting your job search? 

6) What do you think will be the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by young job seekers in the future?

Fri

Underemployment

 

Ideal job

7) If you are currently employed – is your job secure? Do you have several part-time jobs? Do you have benefits, such as insurance? Are you making use of your skills and qualifications? If not, is this your choice or due to underemployment? Please explain.

8) If you are employed, are you in your ideal job? If not, how are you trying to reach your goal?


The Week 3 discussion is now CLOSED. It is no longer possible to add new comments, but check out the homepage to contribute to the current discussion. For those of you who have not had time to read all of the comments from the week, please find a summary of the discussion below, which is also available here in a PDF version.

Week 3 Summary

There were more than 300 comments received on the topic of “looking for a job” from young women and men aged 16 to 30 from all corners of the world, including Nigeria, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Almost all respondents shared both their positive and negative experiences of searching for a job, and there was a range of views as to whether or not globalisation is favourable with regard to job searching.

Quote of the Week: The secret to getting that dream job is to “start small” and “grow, learn and acquire skills as you progress” (Nduta, Student at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa).

Please find below a summary of Week III contributions:

1) In your country, what kinds of job guidance initiatives (organizations and resources) exist?
The main initiatives posted were:

  • Business and social networks (informal and formal)
  • Youth-specific organizations
  • Government initiatives and private sector internships
  • Career fairs - especially at universities and colleges
  • Cooperative education
  • Internships - which were found to assist young people with decisions on specific career paths
  • Tools on CV/resume and cover letter writing, and social media tools

2) In your experience, which initiatives have you used, and which was the most helpful?

  • Many found that business and social networks (informal and formal) were the most useful source of career guidance. This included membership in youth networks. 
  • Most participants also spoke about internships (paid or unpaid) as being a very useful form of job guidance. 
  • Several participants also discussed the importance of developing well-written CVs/resumes with cover letters, and techniques on making the most of these job tools.
  • Finally, many young people mentioned that the most helpful approach for job searching is to maintain a positive outlook, including self-motivation and perseverance.

3) How did you access / secure your first job?

  • The e-discussion revealed that it took participants different lengths of time to get their first job. 
  • Volunteerism and internships emerged as an important approach to securing a first job. They enable individuals to gain experience and develop networks.
  • Respondents emphasized that getting a job requires a lot of dedication and patience.
  • Job seekers shared that it was very important to have social networks, as these linked individuals with jobs as well as information-sharing.

4) What are your top three tips for other young job hunters?

  • The top 3 tips as voted by participants on our Facebook page were:  1) Ambition:  have a “can do” attitude, take action and make things happen; 2) Perseverance: do not give up; and 3) Build and make use of your social networks (formal or informal).

5) How does globalization have positive and/or negative effects on your – and your friends’ – efforts to secure a job?
Participants commented that globalization can be a good thing, as it:

  • Results in employment creation and thus opens up opportunities to young people
  • Allows some people to travel to areas where there are better opportunities
  • Enables global communication of available jobs via the internet

However, globalization can also have negative effects, as it:

  • Increases competition for already scarce jobs
  • Increases the potential for exploitation of young workers who do not have work experience.

6) What do you think will be the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by young job seekers in the future?

  • Opportunities: seeing new types of jobs relating to information & communication technologies, social networking, and environmental sustainability (green jobs).
  • Challenges: the possibility of needing higher qualifications, and new benchmarks and skills being established for these new jobs. 

7) If you are currently employed – is your job secure? If not, is this your choice or due to underemployment? Please explain.

  • The majority of participants were either unemployed, still completing their educational programmes, performing unpaid or part-time work, or working with short-term contracts or in “small jobs”, or engaged in several of these activities.
  • Some of the examples included a lawyer in training, a worker with a biodiversity-focused NGO, and a social media officer. 
  • One university student chose not to work full-time in order to complete application forms which will hopefully lead to their ideal job. 
  • Several participants indicated that they lacked job security: either working without insurance or in jobs that do not match their qualifications.
  • Due to unemployment and lack of work experience, some individuals are either participating in internship programmes or volunteering.

They prefer to do something rather than just “sit around”. Young people continue to work in conditions of underemployment because they believe that, with perseverance and experience gained, their “work” and passion will eventually be recognised.

8) If you are employed, are you in your ideal job? If not, how are you trying to reach your goal?

  • Most people do not hold their ideal job, due to lack of work experience. Volunteering or interning is a step towards reaching one’s goals.
  • Some participants identified their ideal jobs as being diplomatic or international positions, while others want to work as human rights

      lawyers or computer specialists. 

  • Many participants ideally want to work in - or create - green jobs for the future. 

Please join us on Tuesday, 1 November 2011, for Week IV of the e-discussion, which will focus on “Youth at Work”. I am pleased to welcome Mr. Luis David Sena, UN Youth Delegate of the Dominican Republic, who will be your new moderator for Week IV.

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