Lack of passion destroying Ugandan workforce

Lack of passion destroying Ugandan workforce
A woman sorts through sheets of coloured polythene to be used for weaving polythene baskets. Courtesy Photo/REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi.

More than 80 percent of Uganda’s workforce is not fit for the jobs they do, due to poor or no career guidance and lack of self-awareness among employees.

The statement by the Institute of Work Culture and Ethics (IWCE) is based on research findings by Executive Coach Norah Njuba Bwaya in a six year study titled ‘Executive Performance; A Framework for Executive Coaching in Uganda.’ The study based on Uganda’s workforce, involved 69 senior managers from 22 different organizations and 10 coaching firms.

Bwaya says that lack of self-awareness is fueling inefficiency and low productivity among Ugandan employees because several graduates lack the essential skills to serve and deliver against objectives and targets. As a result, the poor attitude towards work is affecting the ability of several organizations to function at optimal capacity.

Such skills include punctuality, communication, self-awareness critical thinking, creativity the ability to work under pressure and teamwork, among other.

“Today’s work place needs passion and creativity but Ugandans are failing to perform because more than half of them lack passion for what they are doing. To make matters worse, 86 percent of them are ill-fitted to do the work that they are doing in the first place,” Bwalya told this publication in an exclusive interview.

Bwaya explained that Uganda’s education system, which pushes forward some professions while ignoring others, is partly to blame for the trend which is costing company resources in managing human resources. She advises that career guidance should be given to children at a tender age in order to equip them for the job market instead of focusing more on functional knowledge for the learners.

“We need to help children become aware of what they want to do at an early age. If they know what they want, they will be in the position to work towards attaining it. After working towards achieving something, I believe they will have passion to become efficient at their work because they will love what they do,” Bwalya says.

She further advises organizations to focus on promoting self-awareness among their labour force instead of organizing training workshops that are not producing results because the would-be beneficiaries are not interested in their work.

In 2014, the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report ranked Uganda’s labour productivity among the bottom 25 countries out of 144. Uganda to date has maintained this position.

Sam Bwaya, the executive director of the Institute of Work Culture and Ethics (IWCE) says that Uganda’s ranking can be attributed to the fact that Uganda’s workforce is comprised of people who have no passion for their jobs but consider employment as a money making venture.

“Companies are spending money that they would have otherwise used for other purposes to employ more people to do work that can be done by one person,” he said.

The Institute of Work Culture and Ethics is a private organization set up to spearhead a renewal of work ethics and promote ethical work culture among youths in the corporate world.