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Youth Skills and Unemployment: Perceived Inadequate Soft Skills and Coping Strategies of Employers in Tanzania

Author(s): 
Abel Alfred Kinyondo
Hubert Shija
Theme: 
Youth jobs, skills and entrepreneurship

The need to equip workforce with relevant Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) to enhance economic development has gained momentum particularly in developing world. Tanzania has introduced various initiatives to ensure that its workforce is furnished with quality KSAs. Unfortunately, the problem of skills mismatch in Tanzania particularly that involving soft skills lingers. It is in this context that this study examines soft skills that are inadequate in Tanzania and preferred coping mechanisms by employers. Using mixed methods, this study reveals that soft skills lacking among graduates in Tanzania include lack of teamwork, communication skills and poor education. Failure to transfer soft skills is attributed to use of English as a medium of instruction, lack of enough instructors & competent instructors, lack of training facilities and use of outdated facilities. Findings reveal that employers in Tanzania opt to re-train and prolong probation period for new employees as a coping mechanism. We thus first recommend that the government should adopt the Education-Employment Linkage framework in designing, delivering and updating curriculum. Moreover, since the preferred coping mechanisms add costs to employers, we recommend that the government either reduce Skills Development Levy and/or reward employers who do so.