The Future of Work Capsules with Baptista S. Gebu: Commodity developments, the global looming recession, unemployment fears

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Baptista Sarah Gebu (Mrs.)
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Are you aware of the global looming recession? There is fear of a precession of recession coming soon as the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Canada, and the Eurozone – 19 countries accepting the Euro as their prime currency et al fears a looming economic downturn due to inflation, rising stock prices, global debts leading to labour unrest. All these factors are currently happening.   There is a fear this recession warning coming this year cautioning a global economic downturn could be severe than the great recession. The Great Recession was a period that marked general decline, i.e. a recession, observed in national economies globally that occurred between 2007 and 2009. The scale and timing of the recession varied from country to country.

There is imbalance between demand and supply causing globally inflation. This is a sign of an overheated economy which causes interest rates to also rise. Stock prices are rising from the pandemic era causing asset bubbles. $11 trillion dollars was lost just in May 2022 according to Bloomberg from this. Global debts are reported to have reached a record high of $305 trillion dollars. This includes all kinds of debt – private debt, household, and government debts. By the year 2000, globally debts were said to around $83 trillion dollars. This is almost four times fast forward to 2022 which equals 355% of the global GPD. Some of the debts could fail. Yes some could fail and when that happens, this can lead to an economic slowdown.

Real global unpredicted situations like the Covid pandemic, Russia – Ukraine war also causes economic collapse leading to inflation and supply shortages felt by the world at large. Could things get worse before getting better again? There is labour unrest as well from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea, and here in Ghana – the recent Arise Ghana demonstration. All seems to have same demand for better wages. Recessions also cause social unrest.

The textbook definition of a recession is a significant decline in economic growth that lasts months, even years. During a recession, a country’s overall economic output declines, the unemployment rate goes up, retail sales fall, businesses cut their spending and manufacturers produce less goods.

During this recession, economies will struggle, people will lose work; companies will make fewer sales and the countries overall economic output will decline. The average person suffers during a recession because; a lot of people tend to lose their jobs. According to Forbes, in the last recession more than 22 million people were laid off. People who keep their jobs during a recession may have their hours and or commission rates also reduced. Employers also tend to cut back on bonuses and salary increases during recession. The looming global recession warning is a challenge.

Recessions are bad for capital and labor. Corporate profits drop as sagging demand and severance drive up unit costs. Overly indebted companies may default on their debt, driving up borrowing costs or causing credit to evaporate entirely for others in similar straits. Food and drink will continue to be essentials during this economic downturns – recessions. Be agile and instead build resilience to protect your finances from an economic shock.

According to the World Bank, “Ghana’s educational system is not producing the needed skills”. As it stands now, the country’s unemployment and under employment rates keep increasing. The World Bank reports “Ghana’s underemployment rate is nearing 50%”. Ghana is faced with 12% youth unemployment and more than 50% underemployment, both higher than overall unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan African countries. Despite major investments by both government and private sector, this challenge will intensify if job opportunities remain limited. Whereas “underemployment is a state where highly skilled and educated individuals work in low-skilled, low-paying jobs”, unemployment refers to a situation of being unemployed. A number of people then will not have a job that provides money.

When someone or something is not used as much as they should be, these things are said to be underutilized. Same way when highly skilled and educated people are working in low paying jobs they are underemployed. A number of qualified master’s degree holders and certified professionals are settling for diploma and first degree paying jobs due to unemployment situations in the country. In the news this week, a graduate of the University of Ghana was seen announcing his joblessness with a placard by the road side. 

The unemployment rate in Ghana has almost tripled in little more than a decade, according to the country’s latest census. More than 1.55 million people, or 13.4% of the West African country’s economically active population, are out of work, according to the 2021 population and housing census reported by the Ghana Statistical Service on its website. Ghana recorded a jobless rate of 5.3% in the last census, in 2010. Ghana’s population increased to 30.8 million in 2021 from 24.7 million in 2010, according to the population and housing census figures. Ghana like many other African countries do not regularly produce data on unemployment. A situation which calls for advocacy and change.

The new World Bank report titled “Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation” identifies agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports as key sectors that can offer increased employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth. It also calls for more investments in career guidance and counseling, work-based learning, coaching, and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work.

The report suggests that although these are not new areas, the government could maximize their impact by scaling-up these priority areas in existing youth employment interventions and improve outreach to the youth. To promote youth employment in Ghana, it’s very imperative we align formal education programs and skills development initiatives in the context of a fast-changing labor market that requires new and different skill sets, and to adapt to new technology. Partnership with the private sector is equally relevant—such as involving employers in the design of training curricula and introducing certifications for occupational standards in order to adapt to the future of work conversation.

The report further calls for an Integration of pre-employment support activities as part of the country’s current education system to better prepare young people for the transition to work. Promoting social inclusion initiatives to improve access to credit and management training for women entrepreneurs, as well as improve both infrastructure and equipment available for persons living with disabilities and ensure that no one is left behind is a great addition, as the report emphasizes the need for greater collaboration among different stakeholders to reduce duplication and fragmentation of youth employment programming.

To this end, I feel privileged to be providing leadership to the Rotary District 9102 this rotary year as the District Vocational Training Teams Chair as we enroll the District’s Knowledge Bank Project. An idea I have been nursing for long. You can reach out to the District Governor’s office or any rotary club in your community to request partnership with rotary on this all important and timely project.

Baptista is an influencer, a human resource professional with a broad generalist background. Building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling!  She is a Hybrid Professional, HR Generalist, strategic planner, innovative, professional connector and a motivator. You can follow this conversation on our social media pages Facebook / LinkedIn/ Twitter / Instagram: FoReal HR Services.   Call or WhatsApp: +233(0)262213313.  Follow the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC



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