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Opinion - Govt underutilising integrated employment system

2021-09-24  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Govt underutilising integrated employment system
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Based on a recent report by United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) country representative, Namibia is expected to reach a shocking 50.3% youth unemployment rate by the end of 2021. 

Thus, making it the third-ranked country in Africa behind Nigeria and South Africa respectively. To narrow down this discussion, we will focus solely on the Namibian Integrated Employment Information System (NIEIS), and how its effectiveness can curb the costs associated with a job application.

In this article, we will define ‘Job Application Costs’ as; all costs incurred in the application of a certain job, including printing costs, the cost of making copies, the transport cost or post office courier tariffs, and so on. 

Unemployed graduates have for a long time suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of an old, hopeless and costly system of job application for vacancies in the public service. In this article, we want to address this issue and look at the best possible way out.

What would you possibly think if you just spot a privileged person forcefully taking what a street beggar has collected for a loaf of bread for the whole day? Everyone would think that it is not right or that it is inhuman. 

Exactly! This is the same scenario associated with unemployed youth’s vacancy application issue here in the Land of the Brave. Imagine a person who already has no income has to again spend a relatively high amount of money for a single job application. 

At the same time, the probability of this person to get shortlisted for an interview or to get the job is extremely low, due to competition of vacancies in light of the forever rising youth unemployment rate in the country. 

In worst cases, this job application cost makes it impossible for some competent applicants to apply because they would not afford to.

We are fully aware of the emergence of the NIEIS, which was established under Section 14 of the Employment Service Act, 2011 (Act No. 8 of 2011), under the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation. 

The system was designed for the unemployed, the majority of which are the youth, to electronically or manually register themselves with the Employment Service Bureau, which enables them to apply for available jobs in both the public and private sectors.

The job providers are also ought to be registered with the bureau, thus enabling them to put up available job openings in their organisations on the site. However, only some employers follow this and most of them are from private services. 

This shows that the government is somehow bending the law and failing to comply with what it initiated. It must however be noted that the establishment of NIEIS was indeed a smart move by the ministry. Yet, this system (NIEIS) arises with a lot of confines to job seekers especially those seeking employment in the public sector. 

Having made several engagements and discussions with various graduates on the issue of how costly hardcopy job application is, we have come to realize that the effectiveness of NIEIS has been hyped in some way, of which it is not the case. 

The site is mostly flooded by private service job opportunities and in most cases one to virtually zero public service posts. 

This is not in agreement with the reality on the ground, if one visits various government offices and agencies, the jobs are there, advertised on notice boards at these offices, but the only difference is that they only have to be applied manually or simply in hardcopy, hence making no use of NIEIS. 

One would think that maybe the recruiters in the public service offices are not aware of NIEIS and alternatively not aware of how costly it is applying in hardcopies for people who already have no incomes. So, NIEIS is not effective at all.

In light of that, we are therefore appealing for all government ministries, offices and agencies with the staff establishment role to make sure that all recruitments or job applications are made via NIEIS, to also cater for the unemployed who are unable to afford job applications costs. In terms of Section 16 (1) of the Employment Service Act, (Act No. 8 of 2011), NIEIS allows every designated employer to notify the Employment Service Bureau of vacancies or new positions.

 Thus, the law must be enforced to ensure that NIEIS assists job seekers to find suitable jobs easily and exclude job application costs associated. On the other hand, we are also encouraging recruiters and job providers in the private sector to utilise the Namibian Integrated Employment Information System when seeking for new recruits. 

The unemployed youth want to see change with which the NIEIS operates within the public service, in order to save them from high job application costs. Let us together curb the youth unemployment rate in style or with minimal costs.

2021-09-24  Staff Reporter

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