Gender and Behaviour

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An exploration of challenges faced by unemployed university graduate students: a case of a rural university in the Limpopo Province

Kgotlhane Bogadi Eunice, T.J. Mudau, D Ncube


The purpose of this study was to explore the challenges faced by unemployed university graduates at a rural university in the Limpopo Province of the Republic of South Africa. The study sought an in-depth analysis of the challenges faced by unemployed university graduates by uncovering their causes, magnitude and effects on the unemployed graduates including the coping strategies they are employing for survival. The study employed a qualitative research method and data were collected from a sample of six (6) participants (unemployed university graduates) who were selected through the purposive sampling method. A semi structured interview guide was used to solicit for data from the information rich study participants. The raw data were qualitatively analysed and narratively presented in accordance with the objectives of the study. The study revealed that skills mismatch, higher education institution attended, job search behaviour, socio demographic factors, lack of employability skills, choice of degree and mass enrolment are the major causes of graduate unemployment. The unemployed graduates are plagued with socio-economic and physical challenges which are causing untold suffering to them and to their families. The study also discovered that the unemployed graduates are doing part-time jobs, are self-employed, have undertaken post graduate studies while others have taken internship activities as survival strategies. The study recommends that the government of South Africa in partnership with labour reviews the curriculum of higher and tertiary education to make it more responsive to the demands of the labour market.

Keywords: youth, unemployed graduates, University graduate unemployment, institutions of higher learning

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