“It has been almost a year since I have been unemployed. I am planning to accept an offer my Professor made to me last week,” exclaimed a dejected Asim.
Filled with the desire to contribute towards the development of the motherland and a strong urge to give something back to the society; Asim came back to the motherland right after receiving his Master degree in Civil Engineering from a top notch University in South Korea. Although he did receive some offers from companies based in his host country, he declined all those offers and came back to Pakistan.But after coming back he was startled to see how sifarish culture and lack of decent jobs has marred the country’s disheveled corporate landscape.
The first interview call he received was from a newly founded construction company, whose HR personal was more interested in Asim’s personal life rather than his skills and academic and professional accomplishments. While he did reluctantly answer all the personal questions he was bombarded by the interviewers, the pay package they offered, in the end, took him by surprise which was a meager Rs. 25000, even less than what his B.Com. (Pass) younger sibling in a call center was earning.
Months following his first interview experience Asim either found himself in similar situations or was asked to provide a strong internal reference. Some even asked him whether he could teach Korean, while few advised him to go back as his degree and aptitude has no worth in the country.
Asim’s case is not unique, in Pakistan, there are numerous such qualified foreign graduates who after returning back either face the same fate or are hired by companies as a showpiece. The exact data of foreign graduates in the country is not known but most of the returnees resort to going back or find jobs in other countries.
Another important phenomenon is the lack of acceptance of such graduates by their peers and the discouraging attitude of recruiters who constantly nag them and recommend them to try their luck in academia. It is also worth mentioning that at academia’s side once again foreign graduates are either not given preference or are paid a meager salary.
Whining about brain drain and releasing fake data regarding the unemployment rate (which suggests unemployment rate be around 5.9%) won’t solve the issue of wasted talent. Till the government devises a national policy regarding unemployment and foreign returnees, many talented people will continue to suffer.