31.10.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

A young graduate in Senegal: My struggle to find a job

Fatim Diop has a Master's Degree but no job. ©UNESCO/Anne Muller

This is the story of an unemployed graduate, Fatim Diop, who spoke during the launch of the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All in Dakar, Senegal (29 October 2012).

My name is Fatim Diop, I'm 25 years old and have just finished my Master's degree in Banking and Insurance at the Bourguiba University in Dakar, Senegal.

I'm now looking for internships and jobs, but as unemployment continues to grow every year in our country, it's a real problem for us graduates.

Need experience

I started to look for internships during my second year at university. I wanted to gain some work experience during the holidays.

During my 3rd year I continued to send applications for internships and jobs but I received no feedback. Finally in my 4th year, I obtained a one-month internship thanks to the support of an acquaintance.

During this internship I performed the tasks of a regular employee but there was no remuneration for trainees. They didn’t even pay for transportation. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that you are only a temporary worker in these companies. You always hope they will recruit you but it doesn’t happen and they forget about you.

Too many universities

One major problem for young graduates is that companies require 3-4 years of professional experience. We really regret this because how can young people gain professional work experience if we don’t even manage to get 4-6 month internships.

In Senegal there is another problem which is the number of training schools and private universities. The number of training schools and private universities rises every year, therefore contributing to more unemployed graduates.

Does this phenomenon encourage young people to pursue higher studies? No, in this country most students just want to have a bachelor degree. They believe it’s useless to pursue higher studies because it won’t increase their chances of finding a job.

I continue my search I have prepared a schedule for my job hunting that I stick to seriously. From Monday to Friday I’m in town looking for jobs. Whenever I see an offer that meets my qualifications, I go there hoping that one day I will get it.

I always tell myself that every day and every experience is an opportunity, a new hope and a new chance to move on. I don’t let discouragement get to me.

The right to get a job

It is time for our governments to pay attention to the issue of youth employment.

Unemployment is one factor that hinders the development of our country. If priority is not given to its intellectual elite, we surely promote under-development.

We, the youth, are the future of our country, the future of tomorrow, the future of the world.

If we are neglected, what will be the future of our country? What will become of the world of tomorrow? We have done our duty to study. Now we have the right to employment, the right to put into practice our knowledge and expertise.

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