The Disconnect: Job Description ≠ Work -> Brain Drain

Interviewer: “I really like your resume but you don’t have enough experience for this job”

Me: “Um you advertised for fresh graduate which stated no experience. And I still…”

Interviewer: (A bit confused) “umm yes but still you don’t know how we do work. As in do you know through what channels (means) we perform work?”

I explained a possible number of ways to perform the specialized work for that company.

Interviewer: Yeah they all are possible but you still don’t know our one secret method to perform work.

Me: Umm If your company secrets were so common that anyone could know them, then why would there be need for your services?

Interviewer: Haha yeah that is true. Actually (short pause) but will you be willing to work at a lower pay scale than the one you had before?

(Aha! Finally some honesty – I said to myself)

Me: Well that depends on the exact nature of job. Could you please elaborate on exact nature of job and potential career growth opportunities?

Interviewer: Oh it’s pretty much whatever is written in the job description.

……….

 I wonder what was the thought or logic according to which the interviewer expected to hire an expert in his/her own field by advertising for a “fresh graduate, who particularly would know their company’s “secret” way of performing work as well.  Either this has a very deeper meaning to it which I failed to comprehend or else its sheer “disconnect”.

I have witnessed and observed that there usually lies a severe disconnect, in the work requirement, job expectation, and job description (JD) that is advertised. I suppose not much of a thought is put into it before advertising for entry level jobs. Nowadays, JD’s have become merely a marketing tool which is used to attract the best possible candidates; through advertisement that uses fancy words and raises hopes regarding the job. I believe, it is very important to connect the disconnect properly to utilize the potential of youth in the best possible manner. As by not doing so we are not only under-utilizing young talent but also restricting human development in the country.

As it is needless to say, that the disconnect quite often leads to underemployment or a feeling of under-employment amongst youth. When young people get employed in jobs having the “disconnect”, they often end up getting disappointed; when they realize their job is not what it looked like on the JD or is different from what they were informed about.

I am sure all of us have seen many such dissatisfied young “talented” people complaining that they are doing something very different from their actual JD, and they foresee no learning or growth opportunities for themselves in their jobs. According to them, they got caught in the JD trap and ended up being under-employed. Maybe they are just whiners or may be their rant does hold some truth.

Even for a workaholic like me, who has a habit of going beyond her JD willingly, “disconnect” would matter a lot. As going beyond JD is not an issue but getting an unclear picture of the true nature of job and having unclear career prospects is definitely an issue. Because let’s assume some young people might have some career goals as well you know. Not everyone comes straight out of bed just to work get paid, only to go home to go back to sleep. You know what I mean?

Now, I do believe no work is small and you can learn something from everything but that means a job has to come with an “opportunity” that allows growth professionally as well. No?

Sometimes employer just wants a helping hand, to do what seniors won’t. In reality, that job might not even have career growth opportunities. So, how fair is it to hire an experienced Masters student, with good capacity, by showing a rosy picture of JD and career prospects of a job that even a good capacity intern can do? I believe it is unfair, as the hired person cannot even leave the job, once on-board. As switching jobs quite often due to the “disconnect” in job market, would not only leave a bad impression on applicant’s resume but also waste their and company’s time.

Moreover, this disconnect often causes frustration amongst young people. As it restricts their opportunities to grow to their full potential, hampering their development. The same frustration was observed and witnessed amongst youth during the National Youth Consultations (NYC) conducted by National Human Development Report 2015 Team as well.

In addition, many young people believe that Pakistan doesn’t have space for their talents, and going abroad is their only option of having a bright future (NYC 2015). Given the poor quality of employment opportunities available in Pakistan, I wonder if they are wrong even. I am sure this explains why World Bank Report 2015 says Pakistan has a high emigration rate of territory graduates who move to other countries in search of good opportunities.

Whereas, another matter of concern is that our country does not have many people going up to territory level of education. So if we keep on losing those people who go up to that level, due to the existing disconnect in the market, then for sure we will be left with majority of low skilled labor force only. Having few high skilled workers and many low skilled workers would further drive down the demand and need for creating good quality jobs, trapping Pakistan in a low productivity cycle.

Having said all that. I am quite cognizant of the fact that currently there are few employment opportunities for young people. However, I fail to comprehend that how does lack of employment opportunities in the market, give employers, the right & freedom to monopolize the job market, by manipulating the existing young people who reach the interview stage and get employed? Does this give employers the right to under-employ graduates?

Also, I wonder, isn’t quality of jobs a matter of concern that should be dealt with if we want to stop brain drain and retain talented individuals for development of Pakistan?

Food for thought…

Meeran Jamal is Young Professional Officer at UNDP. She has MSc in International Development Management from University of Nottingham and BSc (Hons) Double Majors Economics & Finance from Lahore School of Economics

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