Stanbic managing director, Leina Gabaraane, last week cautioned local graduates on complacency and mediocrity, saying such a trend was attributable to the current soaring unemployment rate as their counterparts from foreign countries with whom they have the same qualifications ride on the crest of the wave of success, holding key positions while they wander in the lurch unemployed.
Gabaraane, a guest speaker at the annual Career Fair, organized since 2004 by the International Financial Services Centre, ostensibly to assist graduates overcome their plight in looking for suitable and convenient employment, he noted that despite government protection local jobs were eventually taken by the expatriates whom he appreciated have acknowledged the world was flat and thus it needed to be confronted vigorously and competitively regardless of origin.
“We have seen jobs go to expatriates in the same fields in which we have trained our people; notwithstanding the government protection that they get, we ask ourselves why we still have expatriates in key positions when we have been training people for so long and have resources readily available in Botswana. The answer is blatantly clear. We have allowed complacency and mediocrity to be part of who we are,” he noted, at the same time warning the graduates, who flooded the Career 2009 Fair in great numbers, to refrain from the trend as the swelling numbers of unemployment in the country estimated currently at about 30 percent can attributed to these practices.
In a flat world, he argued, all countries are competing for growth, jobs and resources, adding that, as a result, the local graduates were in competition with graduates from all parts of the world for jobs.
“Whilst our government can offer some form of protection and reserve jobs for locals, we as locals need to understand that there are others out there in the world looking for the same jobs. Local jobs will keep going to non-citizens because we as citizens do not believe in exerting ourselves and will, as a result, be out-performed by other international candidates,” he insisted, challenging the graduates to set themselves goals to start competing for jobs in the international market and not just restrict themselves to Botswana.
“By setting those standards, we will ensure that all employed persons in Botswana are indeed of international caliber and are not only “good enough” for Botswana. Our levels of productivity and competitiveness as a country will also be enhanced giving testimony to the entire world we can effectively run our economy.”
He went on to say that chances for an organization which employs mediocre resources to excel are severely limited.
Established in 2003, IFSC’s mandate among others is geared towards assisting the growing number of young jobless Botswana graduates cut their teeth with potential companies as apprentices and gain experience prior to permanent employment.
Going by the theme “Shaping Graduates into professionals”, the 2009 Career Fair, like the previous fairs, attracted more than thirty companies and hordes of unemployed graduates.
This year’s Fair was also exceptional as the renowned Botswana Development Corporation and the Botswana Innovation Hub joined the bandwagon, splashing thousands of Pula to make the event more successful and thus combat the disturbing trend of unemployment.
Gabaraane informed the graduates that the road to securing a comfortable job was no easy sailing, demanding the graduates to aim above average to obtain secure employment.
For his part, IFSC chief executive officer Allan Boshwaen reiterated the same sentiments on what the world economy is currently going through, adding “this, of course, creates great uncertainties about job security among those who are employed or with the entrepreneurs about the survival prospects of their business”.
“For those who are only starting off like some of you, you may wonder about the prospects of ever finding a suitable job or career. It becomes important, therefore, as never before to sharpen your competitiveness and skills to compete with others and raise your game,” he maintained, insisting “participation at a forum such as this is one of the ways to be inspired to succeed.”
Kingdom Bank, Delloite and Botswana Insurance Company, among other companies, participated at the event.