As a result of globalization, today the world is changing rapidly. This is not limited to any particular country. Therefore, Pakistan also has to adapt to the changes in the global environment. Vocational training can play a vital role in connection with the employment. Although, in Pakistan we have seen a lot of unemployed in recent years, which gradually decreased in last few years and is on rise again. Maintaining consistency in any field is the main issue in Pakistan and is a cause of virtually every problem.
Traditional educational system has been a major reason for unemployment as well as youth unrest in the country. There is a clear contrast between the educational system and employment opportunities in Pakistan. Gradually employment opportunities in the governmental sector has decreased. Therefore, there was a tendency of seeking jobs in the private sector even though there is a great competition to obtain jobs in the private sector. To get through this competition, training is a very important qualification. Therefore a lot of unemployed tended to follow training courses to get the required skill set. Eventually the unemployed who followed training will be better placed to get a job.
There are several organizations now expect their prospective employees to have obtained the requisite skills needed for advertised roles elsewhere. In view of such shifts in the workplace, globalization, and new technologies, the expectations of employers from university graduates has equally increased. Graduates are required to have skills that are relevant to the modern-day workplace. Moreover, Pakistan needs to train young people in employable skills with emphasis on soft skills which has become more important today than ever. Employers expect young people to think outside the box, work in teams, communicate effectively and build their entrepreneurship muscle. It is important for the job seekers and employees to keep themselves abreast of the recent developments in their relevant sector globally. It is a world of fittest now, the one who is fittest will only survive.
A lot of emphasis is currently being placed on what is now often referred to as soft skills. Examples to include positive attitude, forming values, improving perception, career planning, communication, body language, team building, group discussion, social etiquette and manners, stress management and critical thinking. All these qualities are very important to have, it is understandable that one might not have all of these qualities but the important thing is one must try to develop most of such qualities in order to grow internationally or even within Pakistan.
It is important to make policies to ensure primary and secondary school attendance avoid early school drop-outs and leaving school at low levels of qualification. Policy makers should aim at providing basic skills to every young person by compulsory participation in support classes and intensified personal support. In Pakistan economic policies should be designed to create more enterprises in the formal sector which offer formal jobs. This can be addressed by policy reforms such as abolition of bureaucratic business registration procedures, tax reforms, stimulating investment in the private sector and creation of formal companies start-up support.
Pakistan should also strengthen the vocational part of its educational or schooling system and bring existing vocational education and training systems closer to the current needs of the labor market so that young people can experience a smoother transition to jobs. In particular, vocational education provided in the secondary schooling should be modernized and complemented with phases of practical work experience, e.g. via internships or passing the final year with an employer. Employers should also be consulted regarding the design of vocational schooling curricula. This requires a systematic coordination with networks or associations of employers. Pakistan should also consider like few other counties where reducing vocational education fees can help raise enrollment and in fact offer scholarships, rewards and concessions to the students can help increasing the skilled people.
Pakistan is facing another issue that is high share of university graduates with major difficulties in finding adequate jobs. Therefore, they are inclined to start their own business. It is so common now in the IT sector in Pakistan (more commonly referred as fintec sector), more than 50 percent of the graduates are now starting up their own ventures and there are many private investors in the market who fund such start-ups.
Providing better training for the informal sector can be a game changer for Pakistan. Policy makers should make polices so that the sector can be opened up to new technologies and occupational change. A concrete step could be to encourage informal workers and employers to participate in the training activities, e.g. by providing informal apprentices with some vocational schooling focusing on more general skills and theoretical aspects. Participation in vocational courses for young people working in the informal sector could be increased by setting some incentives to participants and employers, in particular compensating for hours not worked because of training courses.
To avoid deterrence, these courses should not be delivered by provincial or federal governments directly but should be delivered by NGOs, or non‐profit associations with sufficient acceptance and in‐depth knowledge of the economic situation of the local communities. Involving larger employers or (formal) training centers is another option. Funding may come from the government (the best would be to transfer funds from Benazir Income Support Program) and can be raised from international donors as well.
The mismatch between the skills required by the employers and the skills of those entering the labor market is well documented now in Pakistan. Due to fault lines in Pakistan’s education system, employers frequently find that youth, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, are underqualified and unprepared for available roles. Young people often lack the necessary problem-solving skills, business acumen, technological savvy, and communication skills that are needed for the workplace.
Adding to the skills challenges and inadequate market information make it hard for the youth to find job opportunities and for employers to find entry-level candidates. Frequently, HR systems and structure keep the youth locked out of the opportunities. This happens because; employers engage in low-risk hiring practices, favoring experienced workers over first-time job seekers where youth lack work experience. The quality of the primary and secondary school system is highly variable, causing employers to dismiss ‘matric’ (i.e., secondary-school-leaving qualifications) as a reliable indicator of competence and to insist on British educational system passed candidates. On the job training, mentoring, and coaching is not a standard practice in most of the workplaces which is also a contributing factor in increasing the skills set. Closing these gaps can represent a significant opportunity to address the youth unemployment and government should give some tax incentives to companies providing training to unskilled workers and supporting training institutes.