18 June 2017

Ethiopia: Are Local Agencies Really Helping to Solve Joblessness Problems of the Society?


Zeru Adane came to Addis Ababa last year looking for a job and searching for a better life. He is B.A holder from Debre Brehan University and moved here right after graduation with high hopes of getting chance to work in the big city. He was picturing in his mind bunch of opportunities than the small city, his home town.

He started to live with close relatives and started job hunting. Looking for occupation where he could make money and support his family, he started to peruse every newspaper and most of the posts required an experience of two or four years. He applied at every possible post. He made it through interview a couple of times but he could not get lucky due to the number and competitiveness of job seekers just like him who come from across the country. When he first came to Addis he was dreaming to make it and also make his family proud. But now all the money he saved for transportation and such things is running out bit by bit. And the turn of events is worrying him.

One day he got a call from an office that he applied for and took written exam few days before. "I got so flattered. He said, "I thought to myself, this is it, but then there was this girl she was so competitive. But our points was almost equal. However, affirmative action was brought into the case and she passed."

"After days of searching I started to give up until I saw a post on poll with a bunch of jobs, and many of them with no experience." said Adane "Quickly I reached to my pen and started to write their addresses. I got there first thing in the morning eagerly to find a local agency that works on local job seekers with or without experiences.

They asked him for document and 100 birr registration fee. However, he hadn't had the money but he promised them he will get back with the money the next day. "I told them I need the job so badly and I promised to give the registration fee by the next day."

The young man in the office affirmed me that job seekers who come to that agency would get hired for in a short time for sure. So the next day I showed up at the office having my documents and the 100 birr with me.

The young was not there. Another guy asked me what kinds of jobs I was looking and all the information I needed and he gave me piece of paper some sort of card and told me to wait patiently until they call me.

Adane waited and waited for days but his cell phone was silent. Then he decided to show up in person. When he got there the guy told him that there is actually a sales job if he prefers and Adane decided whatever job "I am offered I will not bat an eye". Then the agency asked him again for 400 birr grant. Adane thought "I am looking for a job to get paid, instead I am asked to pay money to get hired. What kind of joke is this?" He didn't say a word because he needed the job so badly. Plus the guy told him that it is returnable if he didn't get hired so. He borrowed 400 from his auntie and paid the grant and got directly to the hiring private company. He took an exam and interview and was told that they would call him. After weeks of waiting they told him he didn't pass the interview. He stopped by the agency to check things out. The young man told me there is another one and I believed him.

"I still am not hired they send me to a lot of places I got tired and gave up eventually."

Adane is one of the job seekers who got disappointed by one of these local agencies. Adane thinks that some of the so called local agencies are frauds and waste of time.

As job seekers numbers and joblessness increases in the city due to inbound migration from rural places to the capital, the range of local agencies has increased. Unlike the foreign legal agencies these agencies are not reliable.

As this writer approached few local agency owners in the city, some of them don't have licenses. They are unemployed graduates who start by renting office and start business by their own.

Efrem Teshome and his friends started these agency by realizing the number of job seekers and hiring companies as to serve as a bridge and benefit from both parties.

"We have been somewhat effective in meeting the job seeker and hiring companies," he said

"Sometimes we get a lot of complaints from job seekers but its all about time. When the right time and the right person meet it makes our efforts successful. So we advise our clients to be hopeful and patient," he said.

Unemployment is a fear and a major problem that many people face after graduation. It is also is a headache across the world as in every country.

As city is getting bigger and job seekers are flowing to the city these agencies take advantage and they consider themselves as entrepreneurs some of whom are fraud and some of them reliable.

Forty per cent of the population is jobless and 80 per cent has low income. The government highly encourages entrepreneurship and job creativeness so these local agencies take it from the top.


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