From 2017 to 2020, the global unemployment rate increased by 0.92% from 5.55% the word had in 2017. In terms of numbers, information has it that “Between 2019 and 2020, the number of unemployed people worldwide increased from 187.3 million to 220.3 million, the biggest annual increase in unemployment in this provided time period. In 2021, the number of people unemployed increased slightly to almost 220.5 million, but is expected to fall to 205 million in 2022.”
Between 2017 and 2020, various reports and public analysts’ views indicate that countries in the global south had severe experiences and consequences of the exponential unemployment growth rate, especially among the youth. From the West African countries to the northern ones, including those in the eastern and southern regions of the continent, youths are calling on the government stakeholders to expedite actions on solving the unemployment issue among them.
In countries such as Nigeria, previous and current leaders rose to power with a promise of providing thousands and millions of jobs for the youth. In most cases, the leaders hinged on the need to provide enabling environment for small, medium and large-scale businesses for them to thrive and employ youths who are being churned out in thousands from higher education institutions every year. In spite of this intention, in most cases, the intent remains mere rhetoric as the youth find it difficult to get job after graduating from schools.
Like other youth development advocates and personal brand development specialists, our analyst had opportunity of interacting with graduating students of the Department of Mass Communication, Fountain University, Osogbo and those in 100, 200 and 300 levels of the programme. For over one hour, our analyst walked the participants through the nitty-gritty of playing strategic choice game in the network economy and capturing sustainable value. The presentation which was titled “The Art and Science of Network Economy: Axing Graduate Structural Unemployment” made significant reference to the fact that the growing school enrolment at the higher education institutions indicates continuous growth of unemployment rate in the country.
Exhibit 1: Employment Status in Nigeria’s SME Sector
Exhibit 2: SME’s Segments that absorb the Graduates the Most
Since it is obvious that this situation cannot change for now, our analyst turned the session into a big question platform, telling the participants to always consider what is my paper net worth? Where do I want to go? How will I get there? Can I do it? As unemployment rate increases. Having the right answers to each of these questions means they are ready to navigate the unemployment terrain with a key interest in using the network economy approach.
Possessing first degree or other qualifications have always been seen as the key to get job. However, the unemployment rate trends have indicated that paper net worth alone is not sufficient because qualifications cannot replace required skill sets needed for tasks and responsibilities execution in a workplace or solving personal clients’ needs.
For instance, someone who possessed a first-degree certificate and believes that the only place he could be is to work in an organisation without considering monetization of the skills and capabilities he had acquired while in school is denying himself opportunity of capturing from his inherent values. If the same person does not know how to leverage social networking sites, especially the LinkedIn to market his skills and capabilities, he is creating chance for being counted as unemployed.
Getting out of this wood means, he needs to co-learn with those who have the knowledge and skills of how the sites work. He has been on the platforms. Someone who believes in what he does and being convinced about his abilities and capabilities to execute certain tasks have contacted him. But there are aspects that remain unclear. In the network economy, there is no crime in seeking help from others in the network.
Our analyst specifically notes that the participants need money, people, time, skill and technical know how to succeed in the network economy. Little money is needed for setting up a digital-complying structure. People need to be connected within and outside own’s network. Family network could be first explored before friend network and workplace network [if the person is working in an organisation or previously worked in establishments].
Exhibit 3: The Art of Network Economy in the Midst of Structural Graduate Unemployment
Exhibit 4: The Science of Network Economy in the Midst of Graduate Structural Unemployment