Mrs Funmi Bajulaiye, a business/career performance coach, is the host of AboutJobs TV and Managing Director of Afconrecruit Limited. In this interview with EHIME ALEX, she speaks on strategies to navigate employment brick walls
Nigeria’s unemployment rate is put at 33.3 per cent, and there is a projection that it may rise in 2022. What do you think should be done to turn the tide?
This question is the premise on which AboutJobs TV is built. The current strategy to close unemployment gaps from the macroeconomic level is a focus on the government’s responsibility and empowerment of business owners to create job opportunities. However, there is an area that has not been fully explored. The job-seekers/unemployed are using the ‘sit and wait’ approach – waiting for the government and business owners to figure out opportunities and call them to apply for a job when the table is set. We believe in the third strategy where the job-seekers take the responsibility with clear guidance and strategies to improve their chances of getting a job. In fact, the employee also has a pivotal role in job creation. There is a third strategy in tackling unemployment.
The Coronavirus Disease has further put a strain on the Nigerian labour market. Where lies the silver lining for job-seekers?
We ran a programme themed ‘Work Obsolete’ in 2017 to sensitise professionals that there was about to be a major shift in the global labour market and that they should be prepared. I also launched a book in 2012 entitled Becoming Who Companies Want. In the book, I defined a job as “a bundle of challenges for which someone employed to consistently deliver solutions.” By this definition, COVID-19 posed the largest global challenge and by correlation the largest job opportunities.
The issue is that the jobs have shifted. They are no longer where they used to be and there are some skills, which are in high demand and others have gone obsolete. The job-seekers and professionals now need to be as strategic as the business owner to enter, remain relevant and grow through the labour market. We also have a segment on AboutJobs TV called Job Watch.
There is a saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. Tell us what AboutJobs TV is doing differently in setting jobless people up for employment?
From your last two questions, AboutJobs TV is focusing on the third strategy; waking up the strength of talent in the African labour market. We are reminding them of who they are, opening opportunities to them and exposing strategies required to grab and grow opportunities that are present. The youth have almost been totally distracted by the celebrity culture and have forgotten to build work ethics, innovation and be part of global solutions building. We want to create a different kind of celebrity; we want to celebrate unsung heroes in the Africa space and we want the job-seekers and professionals in Africa to see their role in continent building, tackling challenges and closing the unemployment gaps.
There is this perception that employment in many big companies and government establishments are shrouded in secrecy. So, will in opening opportunities for job-seekers, as you said, include breaking through the brick walls?
We teach a lot of unique strategies to break unemployment brick walls on AboutJobs TV. Like the Bible says, he that has ear, let him hear. One of the unique things about recruitment in Africa, especially Nigeria, is visibility. People who are known most times get the job. Instead of seeing this as a disadvantage, the new labour market entrant needs to get visible through strategic networking.
I must, however, point out that the Federal Government and large companies do not have enough capacity to take in all the unemployed candidates in the labour market. That is why Season 3 of AboutJobs TV is entitled ‘The Rangers’. There are jobs in other places, and job-seekers need to wake up to this. It’s a must watch and many should subscribe to the channel to get more information.
How would you speak on the issue of gender disparity in the labour market?
I don’t have too much to say here. I believe success requires a fight, and whoever is willing to bring the energy wins. An employer seeks growth for his company. If a female focuses on her personal issues and not the growth of the company, then she will not be given equal opportunities with the male who puts in all it takes to move an organisation towards its growth goal. The labour market is not gender-skewed; it is results-skewed.
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