Report: Nearly half of masters degree holders underemployed

At least 45 per cent of master degree holders are underemployed, results of a survey on graduates’ competences and employment, which was commissioned by the Higher Education Council, show.
Job seekers queue to deposit their applications at a company reception in Kigali in 2009. (File)
Job seekers queue to deposit their applications at a company reception in Kigali in 2009. (File)

At least 45 per cent of master degree holders are underemployed, results of a survey on graduates’ competences and employment, which was commissioned by the Higher Education Council, show.

The survey was conducted by LG Consult Ltd, a research firm affiliated to Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (Ralga).

The research, commissioned by the Higher Education Council, last year, estimates 32.9 per cent bachelor degree holders earning in the same bracket as master degree students. These earn between Rwf170,000 to Rwf349,999 as monthly salary.

Using information from 2,298 graduates (1,505 males and 793 females) and 239 employers from all the provinces and the City of Kigali, the survey attributed under employment and uemployment to lack of sufficient skills for job placement.

“The skills acquired from higher learning institutions are still low despite the lack of sufficient funds for those with skills to start their own projects,” said Richard Rutayisire, LG Consult Ltd manager.

Regarding underemployment, Rutayisire said: “Some people who attend lower degrees could be better positioned than the master’s students when it comes to skills.”

Who bears the blame?

However, Dr Innocent Mugisha, the executive director of Higher Education Council, blamed lack of integrity on all the major parties, that is, institutions, students and employers.

Dr Mugisha said the curriculum for higher institutions is well designed to cater for the most needs that would suit students in the employment world.

Unfortunately, some students, lecturers and employers choose to go against them, he added.

“Everyone should play their role as per the required standards and employ people basing on merit,” Mugisha stressed.

He cited employers who have a tendency to delegate interns to do work that is not in line with their careers. Sometimes they use them as office messengers, he said.

“This does not equip them with the desirable skills for the job market,” Mugisha added.

However, despite the fact that 60.3 per cent fail to get employment because of experience 35.7 per cent linked the unavailability of work to lack of connections from influential persons.

The research concludes though that, positive attitude towards work, acceptance of responsibility for consequences of action, creativity and empathy are highly recommended as being critical to job performance.”

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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