I came across a post on LinkedIn written by a fellow Lebanese. In the post, she addresses the all too familiar frustration of completing a job search. She addresses worldwide job recruiters directly and talks about how difficult it is trying to get through to these recruiters. She laments on the regularity of which she gets the same response: “Apologies, We don’t sponsor work visas.”
In the post, she makes an appeal to those same recruiters to have a change of heart, and consider an applicant's character rather than their nationality or skills, to give them a chance; sort of asking them to take a leap of faith. You can view the full post here.
I admire the author of the post. It isn’t easy to bear your emotions on the internet and speak on the behalf of a group of people. I respect her thoughts and opinions and agree with her points. But the reality is that it isn’t easy to find a job. Quite the opposite, it has become increasingly difficult. And if you are a person who is trying to find a job abroad, and would require sponsorship, the task is damn near impossible.
A Constantly Changing Market
The job search has become a daunting task. It’s almost as if the whole process and system are rigged for you to fail, considering the available number of jobs, and the number of people that are able to successfully squeeze through and find a job. One main reason for this is that the global economy has been struggling to recover ever since the 2008 financial crisis. The economic ripple effects of the coronavirus have only made matters worse, thus making job opportunities much rarer.
Even the current job market as a whole drastically fails at matching with the skills in the market. It is as if overnight almost a whole generation of graduates have fallen behind due to the shift of demands and skills in the job market today. Most of that has to do with the quick technological advancements in the workplace and the requisite skills accompanied by them, skills such as coding.
A Sea of Applicants
Another issue is the substantial sum of people searching for jobs.
It is staggering.
Do a quick search on the LinkedIn job section right now and look at some of the world’s supposed hottest hiring spots — take Dubai as an example. Do a job search, and click on any opening. You are guaranteed to find that job opening has a minimum of 200 applicants in less than just 24 hours.
Try to put that number into perspective.
Imagine 200 people rushing to the supermarket to grab the last remaining item on the shelf. What you’d get would resemble a stampede, the likes of which we saw when people rushed to buy toilet paper during the first coronavirus lockdowns. That’s more or less the same scenario happening here.
In some countries, the number of applicants for a job are much higher and reach up to the thousands. In the UK for example, some jobs get up to as much as 15,000 applicants, making 2020 the worst odds of them finding a job in 50 years. Think about that. Thousands of people, all competing for the same entry-level job. If you are a fresh graduate or a person searching for a job, you’re bound to be discouraged staring at such a daunting number on your screen.
Even More Obstacles
The problem of competition becomes more complicated when the sponsorship visa aspect comes into play. The notion that foreigners, leaving their country in search of better opportunities, need to obtain sponsorship via work visas to land a job, succeeds in adding further obstacles in front of the already deflated applicant on their frustrating job search. It isn’t fair to the individual seeking a fair opportunity away from home, to have to overcome these tall walls put in front of them. Obstacles such as these highlight the idea that the job market today is not a fair playing field.
Last and most important, when a country welcomes foreign workers, they are welcoming hard-working and ambitious individuals who will work tirelessly, and in instances for less, just to achieve equal opportunity. Is it fair, however, when an individual compensates rightful pay, just to achieve an equal outcome?
The System is Broken
When you add all these separate flaws together you come away with one conclusion — the entire system is broken. Going back to the LinkedIn post, the author claims the following: “You can’t work in Lebanon due to the lack of jobs & economical crisis. You can’t work abroad, due to numerous work visa requirements.”
It’s true the biggest reason why most people job search in foreign countries is because of the lack of economic opportunities and jobs hiring at home. And yes, sponsorship visas serve as a barricade so that those governments can protect and prioritize their local workforce. After all, it makes sense that they prioritize their own.
“Is it a fair outcome if an individual compensates rightful pay just to achieve equality?”
However, governments and companies should consider the role they’re playing in the post-2008 financial crises and the present COVID-19 pandemic, and the many other global tragedies sandwiched in between. Surely the ripple effects of such tragedies shouldn’t fall on the slim shoulders of a fresh graduate. Shouldn’t Capitalism, a system that has benefited from these same consumers, step up to provide for them when they need it the most? Or is capitalism a one-sided system that only aims to benefit the very top of the pyramid?
More Work Is Needed
As a Lebanese, I mirror the thoughts and opinions stated by the author in the LinkedIn post and I can only express wishful thinking for the generation of lost Lebanese who will struggle to find work due to the dire economic conditions at home, and the overwhelming obstacles of finding a job abroad. I hope more and more countries and companies step up to the task of being true global leaders and allowing for open borders to foreign workers who seek equal opportunity and go about pursuing it through the proper channels.
However, we are only a fracture of the people suffering from a broken system. In the world over, there are many young adults struggling to find a job and launch a career, something that came easy to past generations. There have been numerous Op-Eds, essays, articles, all highlighting how the global economic system is destined for a change because today it is failing miserably. A simple job search shouldn't be the difficult, daunting task it is today. I'm talking about the frustrating process of starting your search to the final step of landing a job. It’s gotten to the point that finding a job has itself become a full-time job. All the obstacles you go through in between, and the rare success of eventually finding a job, suggests that the entire system is broken.