Young graduates claim they are being overlooked for the best paid jobs in Somalia by employers favouring Somalis returning from overseas with foreign credentials.
Most top officials in the federal government, non-governmental organization workers as well as leading business employees have spent time abroad and have foreign passports.
The vice-speaker of the Somali parliament, Abdiweli Sheik Ibrahim Mudey, told Radio Ergo that top officials in different sectors accept the diaspora more readily. Mudey said he has spoken several times to government officials about giving priority to youth who studied under difficult conditions in the country, in order to encourage them.
Sahra Sheik Yusuf, a student of business administration at Mogadishu university, plans to travel oversees after completing her studies in two years, as she has no hope otherwise of getting a job in the country.
“I don’t think I will get a job with the government because I don’t have a foreign passport. The government prefers and gives job opportunities to the people from abroad,” Sahra told Radio Ergo.
Sahra said the best job vacancies are offered to Somalis living outside the country. The few local graduates that get jobs use their connections or clan affiliations.
Even then, local graduates claim, they are paid less than those coming home from abroad.
Young people say they are pushed to migrate oversees, often taking very dangerous routes, so they can also get foreign documents to back-up their CVs and stand a better chance in the job market.
Omar Osman Mohamed, who graduated in 2016 in public administration from the University of Somalia, said he has been overlooked seven times after an interview.
“Every time I go for a job interview, they tell me they will contact me, but I don’t get any feedback, whether it was success or failure,” he said. He is convinced that young people studying in Somalia at being discriminated against in the job market. “The main reason I am not able to secure a job is certainly not because of my knowledge or lack of ability,” he added.
Omar knows university peers who decided to migrate to optimize their job chances, hoping to come back with foreign papers from Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The permanent secretary of the ministry of labor and social affairs in Somalia, Said Ahmed Mire, denied that there was any preference given to diaspora Somalis in government posts. He said priority was given to who studied in Somalia. Without giving any statistics, he said there are many employees working in government offices with local qualifications and papers.