Do Employers Appreciate Aquired Qualifications?

LINGERING in the corridors of most employers and listening to what most workers lament on in relation to their respective qualifications, one wonders whether employers appreciate qualifications which workers get or not.

But it is not only lingering in corridors of employers where one can learn whether most employers appreciate qualification or not but also reading newspapers can help one to learn how employers treat qualifications workers earn.

Reading Mukuwa Mwananogolo letter to the editor in The Post for April 20, 2014 one can learn about what is happening to some employees after they have earned certain qualifications.

Mr Mwananogolo said he got his master of arts’ (MA) degree in Psychology of Education from University of Zambia (UNZA) three years ago but up to now he has not been promoted yet while other civil servants with first degree have been promoted in various positions including to lecturing positions in education colleges.

Mr Mwanagonolo isn’t the only one in such a situation. Few months ago, another letter to the editor appeared probably in the same newspaper where another army of teachers in Western Province complained of not being promoted for some years despite obtaining some academic degrees.

Another civil servant in Mufumbwe district text a message to this writer about a similar situation that a certain Diploma holder was promoted to a senior position leading to that officer supervising degree holders who had more experience than the one who was promoted.

And while wandering about in the streets of Lusaka, I met one of my former students in one of the colleges who completed her diploma studies.

Asked how things are now that she is a graduate especially that she was studying while already working in Government, she told me that things are still the same because employers are saying they are waiting for vacancies to be created since there are many graduates in her field.

Such are issues we need to find lasting solutions to as a nation.

Failure to do so might lead some citizens not improving their academic and professional status as they might think that such qualifications are valueless or not beneficial.

It appears no sooner does one graduate from a certain training institution than one expects a promotion. Little do such graduates know that there are many factors to consider before one is promoted to certain positions.

However, some of these factors to consider before one is promoted can be objective while others can be personal and therefore subjective.

To know whether employers appreciate qualifications or not, one should also appreciate the meaning of qualification.

Appreciating the meaning of qualifications will help one understand various factors that influence employers to appreciate one’s qualifications or not.

According to Encarta Dictionaries, a qualification is an essential attribute such as a skill, quality or attribute that makes one suitable for a job, activity or a task.

Encarta Dictionaries goes further to define a qualification as a condition or requirement such as passing an examination, that has to be met by somebody who is to be eligible for a position or privilege.

From such definitions of qualification, one can discover that the word is clear when one is objective but can the same word can be attract subjectivity when one wants to be so.

This is so because, apart from passing the examinations, who determines what attributes are required? And what are these attributes?’

So graduates and many other workers should be aware that employers’ determination of attributes can sometimes be a mystery especially where high unemployment exist on the labour market.

In addition to having paper qualifications, one has to find out what attributes employers need for one to be employed or to be promoted respectively.

This means that rarely are paper qualifications sufficient enough to help you get a job or be promoted.

In short, having paper qualifications or the perceived good attributes is quite risky nowadays.

A good combination of paper qualifications, skills and other desirable attributes is highly recommended for one to land into a good job or be promoted to a certain position.

Such statements don’t imply that one is clapping hands for the employers concerned for not employing or promoting you after your hard earned paper qualifications but to help you know more about what employers consider before they employ or promote someone.

The argument some employers give that they are waiting for vacant positions to be created can also be genuine.

Organisations have structures and hierarchy. Such structures and hierarchy have annual budgets for salaries, wages and other fixed and variable expenses from a specific income in that year.

Not until one worker has retired, resigned or passed on can a vacancy be created for employing or promoting someone or some workers respectively in that position.

Employing or promoting workers haphazardly without considering what was budgeted for can lead to budget over-run for that organisation in that year.

Moreover, relevance of some paper qualifications and their levels matter in some organisations before one is employed or promoted.

Where one has some paper qualifications or skills but his or her employer doesn’t want to promote him or her brings issues of how a free market economy operates.

If no vacancies exist in your organisation or your qualifications aren’t appreciated by your current employers, it’s either you wait for a relevant vacancy to exist or you resign and go to where your qualifications can be appreciated.

This depends on how marketable your qualifications are to other employers and competition levels on the labour market.

However, what is unfortunate in some given scenarios is that it is stated that some workers with lower qualifications (first degrees) have been promoted to relatively senior positions.

While one can argue that such a decision can be arrived at because of certain attributes some workers have which might not be in those who have higher paper qualifications, one wonders which attributes are necessary for one to be promoted?

Do some attributes outweigh some higher paper qualifications? Such questions bring to light many other factors that citizens, workers and graduates should consider when hunting jobs especially in a society with high unemployment levels. Such questions are also critical where employers are more interested in outputs than just paper qualifications.

This means that while most people might rush for paper qualifications such as diplomas, BAs, BScs, MAs, MScs, MBAs, etc, it is also important to consider the trends of what attributes employers are more interested in now and in the near future.

Some employers might be more interested in skills to do a certain task than merely one having a paper qualification.

Moreover, citizens, workers and potential students should note that certain fields of study have been over flooded on the labour market.

Some fields like teaching, nursing, social work, law and others seem to attract many students each year because people feel that it is easy to get a job in such fields.

Such a perception creates an army of graduates in such fields almost every year now. Many people have studied and some are still studying in that field to such an extent that it might take too long to have a vacancy in that field in that organisation.

So just assume you have joined a long queue to a likely vacancy.

This is why this writer has been aising some people to be extremely careful before choosing some careers nowadays because one might not find a job within a short time in certain fields of study because most of the people are studying in the same field without considering the demand of such graduates on the labour market.

In conclusion, in addition to what potential students and workers should consider before going into specific fields of study and develop desirable attributes, employers should also guide workers which fields are on high demand in their organisations and explain to workers with new paper qualifications why they aren’t being promoted as expected.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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