As of 2015, the unemployment rate in Pakistan is 5.9 percent. Compare this with the relatively higher rate of 6.3 percent in Punjab. This is alarming as Punjab has always been projected as a more developed, productive and secure province of Pakistan. A closer look at the Labour Force Survey 2014-15 statistics reveal that this rate is particularly high for the age groups 15-19 years and 20-24 years at 12.4 percent and 11 percent respectively. With so much attention and resources being directed towards education and stimulating economic growth, these figures are a great concern. If the teenagers are not enrolled in colleges (or high school), then how are they spending their time? Not all of them are employed, which means they are probably engaged in other less productive activities (such as social media). There is an increased likelihood of them indulging in undesirable activities (smoking, drug addiction etc.) out of sheer boredom. With any lack of direction, the future of the young generation is at stake. Those in the age group 20-24 years are not doing any better. And this is frankly more upsetting and dangerous. This is because these individuals are likely to have completed atleast their undergraduate degrees. To have invested so much time and money in attaining education, these individuals are still not becoming active members of the workforce. Why is it that these fresh graduates are not getting employed? Are they not doing well in the recruitment processes of the hiring companies? Few of the well-established private higher education institutions do have a curriculum that focuses on personal grooming by incorporating assignments, presentations, trainings and mock interview sessions to prepare the youngsters for the real world and the job market. These institutions also have career services (placement) offices that are responsible for placing the students for internships and jobs. But this is not the case for the rest of the universities and colleges and hence the newly graduated youth is facing issues in finding a job. Fresh graduates are being forced to settle for inadequate paying jobs in which they have no interest and aptitude to perform well It seems that in current times, the demand for graduate level jobs is not in abundance either. The selected few are able to attain respectable jobs (ie jobs with adequate compensation and benefits, work environment etc) but the rest are either waiting to find a job that is aligned with their educational background or are stuck in jobs that are not related to their field and interest. This last section is the most damaging to our society and economy. How? Well, when newly graduated individuals are unable to find the job right after graduation, desperation (for a lack of better word) normally kicks in which makes them look for jobs outside their area of interest. While a few indeed develop an interest in their jobs, others are not so lucky and remain discontent. This dissatisfaction does not allow them to be fully productive since they feel they are stuck in a job and a career which is (according to them) uninteresting and does not test their potential. Just like there has been much focus on the quality of education, the quality of employment (i.e. the nature of job and the fit of the job with the candidate’s profile) needs to be assessed as well whenever there is a discussion about unemployment. Limited private national companies are operating in Pakistan that can accommodate only a set number of individuals. Hence, fresh graduates are being forced to settle for inadequate paying jobs in which they have no interest and aptitude to perform well. For example, even now a few graduates from the top universities are being forced to work for a salary ranging between Rs 20,000-25,000 per month. Having invested money and three to four years of time to get the degree, such situation is demoralising for the youth. More of whom are now looking for ways to move out of the country for better opportunities. All these activities indicate that there is negligible job creation taking place in Pakistan. This in turn is reflected in the unemployment rates. With very few companies being set up, the educated and skilled youth has little employment opportunities available. Apart from this, there is a strong need to educate the human resources department (HRD) of the organisations. As it is usually in direct contact with potential employees, the HRD needs to be fully aware about the nature of the degree that the candidate has acquired, his/her skills, area of interest etc. And also the job requirements of the role available in its department. This way the HRD will be able to place the candidate in a role that is a better fit given his/her profile. Lastly, there is a need to establish placement offices in universities (especially public) which can guide and assist the students with career opportunities and scholarships. The writer is an Associate Research Fellow at Punjab Economic Research Institute (PERI), Planning and Development Department, Government of the Punjab Published in Daily Times, July 2nd, 2017.