Over the weekend, we conducted a mini-survey on the popular micro-blogging site, Twitter. The Survey was designed to get feedback from unemployed graduates on the minimum starting wage they thought they deserved to earn.
At the end of the Part one of the survey, about five respondents tweeted that they hoped to be paid nothing less than a hundred thousand naira. Another five replied that they wanted a figure above a hundred thousand naira while three others did not mind being paid less than a hundred thousand naira.
The Second section of the survey sought to ascertain the level of skills the respondents (unemployed graduates) have that may be of added advantage to any organisation. Six respondents relied on the theoretical skills taught in schools. Four respondents added that they had acquired at least one professional certificate in their respective field of study. An additional three respondents said that they possess professional skills including months of experience as interns in several organisations.
Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, we discovered that four out of the six who lacked strong professional skills and experience but relied on the theoretical skills they learnt in tertiary institutions attended; desired to be paid nothing short of a hundred thousand naira monthly and would prefer to forfeit the job opportunity if this preference was not met. According to this group of respondents, they need the money to fend for themselves, for transportation and also for investments in certain areas.
While we appreciate these people for their honesty, it is quite important to stress that this idea is more like building a castle in the air. Unfortunately, there are about thousands of unemployed graduates with the same notion who would refuse to settle for a job which pays less.
It is vital to remember that no organisation is also willing to make such an offer to a fresh graduate with no practical skills or experience; in essence, you are paid in relation to the value you bring to the organisation. It is thus advisable for a fresh graduates to oil those theoretical skills learnt in school with a practical training on the field; don’t be too conscious of the money you will be paid but on the skills to be acquired on a job. Learn as much as you can even if the dream salary you’re hoping for is not forthcoming.
Conceding on the first employment opportunity places you in an environment where you can gather a wealth of experience, be sponsored for relevant trainings and in essence increase your net value in the labour market. There are skills and experience levels a job candidate would possess that would literally make him/her the final judge concerning his/her preferred wages. It is at this point that when the issue of wages comes up in an interview, it becomes a negotiation rather than a statement.
To build yourself you can start by applying for internship in organisation to equip and build yourself with the necessary skills; and that alone will put you on the road to becoming an indispensable asset. Be willing to learn and build your skills, go for workshops, trainings and seminars. Being money conscious is not a bad quality to possess but be smart enough to know when to soft pedal. Increase your value and make yourself a noble product so that organisations would be willing to pay you much more than your preferred salary.
Wish you the best of luck!