In Pakistan, there are not enough jobs around to fulfill the needs of the people. Add to this the fact that the current job system is economically unsatisfactory for employees as it demands more than it can give, and you can see that the overall situation is that either you get a job that leaves you unsatisfied or you don’t get any kind of work at all. Against this backdrop, I see signs of a new trend emerging in which people tend to rely on their “skills” more than on their educational credentials or degrees.
As a teacher, I see this happening with young people. Young people are very much aware of the current economic crisis. They can also see and learn from their own parents who have invested their whole life in one job yet are still unable to pay tuition fees for their children with any ease. They also realise that skill-based jobs pay off in more ways than they can imagine. A very common trend among them, for instance, is the resale of mobile phones to their friends and relatives. They make a commission on the resale, and they use their ‘communication and marketing skills’ to do it without the need for any professional training.
I asked one of my students, Farhan Aslam, how he sees his future economically after completing his degree, considering the current employment market outlook in Pakistan, and he replied: “Imagining working in any company as an employee is not a bad idea but a much better idea is ‘launching your own product’ and utilizing your own creativity…”
This defines the mindset of young people involved in creating new software programs for companies, and also thinking of establishing their own businesses to enhance their skills and also ‘generate’ jobs so that society can become more socially cohesive. Young people are increasingly using their own skills to make money – any kind of skill from music, marketing or event management to baking, photography etc. One of the most compelling ideas I have come across so far is baking. Many people have used their baking skills to set up a flourishing business. They operate through social networking sites, take orders and make home deliveries. Mint to be and Funky Bake are two popular and highly profitable examples of such entrepreneurship. I am the more convinced of the viability of this way because my own sister – who is 19 year old student of International Relations – has taught herself baking through YouTube and is now earning 200 % profit on her investment.
In my opinion, this new emerging culture which supports constructive thinking in the country will help Pakistan evolve a better economy. Since I am an educationalist, I am well positioned to see how young people’s thinking is changing and how they are seeing things in a different way. I only hope this may prove to be a catalyst of change in the coming years…..