Career choice and unemployment length: a study of graduates from a South African university
Dunga, Steven Henry
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Graduate unemployment is especially problematic in a country where much emphasis is placed on furthering academic studies for economic and personal rewards. This article investigates the relationship between career choice and unemployment length among graduates from a South African university. Data were collected by means of a survey questionnaire distributed to graduates in the university's alumni database. An analysis of variance model was estimated and various descriptive analyses and an ordinary least squares regression were employed. The study finds that the specific majors held by graduates not only influence employment status but also the time taken to find employment. Although human resources, industrial psychology, labour relations management, public administration, public management and politics remain the most popular majors, many graduates in these areas have to wait a long time before securing a job. In light of their findings, the authors recommend that university courses should be as practically oriented as possible in order to help graduates in the job market and consequently to make the transition from education to work an easier one. For their part, graduates need to ensure that they make wise and informed career choices. The government needs to put into effect direct interventions that will enhance and augment teaching and learning throughout the educational system, bearing in mind that the choice to study a certain discipline may be affected by many factors, some of which are beyond the control of the student, such as the quality of school education or socio-economic background.