A GENEROUS, fully-funded, state scholarship worth 60,000 euros enabled me to pursue higher studies abroad. I first did an MS in Human Resource Management (HRM), and later a doctorate from a prestigious institution in France. The government’s invest-ment in my education was a testament to the potential of the nation’s human capital. On my return to the country, however, I was placed in the procure-ment department of a known public-sector organisation, and I am today working as a store officer, which, as you might have noticed, has nothing to do with my specialised qualifications.
While I am struggling to come to terms with my fate, I am sure I am not alone in my misery. This, unfortunately, mirrors the broader issue within Pakistan’s workforce. Many highly skilled individuals, despite holding advanced degrees, find them- selves in roles that do not leverage their educational expertise effectively.
As a result, not only do these individuals face limited opportunities for professional growth and career development, the nation also bears the cost of underutilised talent and valuable resources.
To exacerbate the situation, I have encountered further challenges as the relevant department has now prohibited me from applying for positions in other government departments that align with my expertise in HRM. This restriction only perpetuates the waste of talent and drains the investments made in cultivating a skilled workforce.
Addressing this pressing concern requires a collective effort from policymakers, educational institutions and employers alike. We must work towards better aligning education with the needs of the job market, and creating opportunities that harness the full potential of the educated workforce.
Furthermore, employers should prioritise talent acquisition strategies that match individuals’ qualifications with suitable roles, ensuring that the nation’s brightest minds contribute effectively to the country’s growth and development.
It is time we recognised the value of our human capital and invested in its potential. Let us collectively build a future where education and employment are seamlessly integrated, and the national workforce may contribute meaningfully to Pakistan’s prosperity.
Name withheld on request
Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2023