INVESTIGATING THE CHALLENGES FACED BY UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS IN ACQUIRING EMPLOYMENT: A CASE STUDY OF OFFICE MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS AT DURBAN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

K. Ngwane, Y. Mkhize, M. Ngibe

Durban University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
South Africa is experiencing growth in its graduate labour force, but graduate unemployment is rising and with the overall unemployment rate. Graduate unemployment is problematic, because it wastes scarce human capital, which is detrimental to the economy in the long run (Swortzel, 2011:214).

According to Pauw (2013:251), Office Management and Technology course is aimed to produce graduates with professional administrative and communication skills who are a marketable product and more than capable of performing administrative office duties.

The study was conducted with the intention of evaluating the suitability and relevancy of National Diploma in Office Management and Technology (OMT) in the field of employment, then ultimately the study will also reveal the gaps in the course that needs to be attended by the institution in order to make OMT course strong, reliable and more comprehensive among other courses.

The institution will be aware of the gaps related to OMT course if those gaps being attended then the OMT students will benefit by obtaining quality education that will empower them to be employable and proudly perform every task assigned to them due to the quality of the course and organisations will gain an opportunity to employ well educated graduates with relevant competency to perform task accordingly.

Durban University of Technology (DUT) Office Management and Technology graduates were used for the study whereby 20 employed and 20 unemployed graduates.

Empirical data was collected by means of questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires consisted of both open and closed-ended questions. Participants were randomly selected from the OMT graduates. The institution on average graduates about 80 students per year. The researcher was available to explain any part of the questionnaire that was not well understood by the participants in order to increase the participants’ ability to answer the questionnaire.

Data analysis was done through Moonstats data analysis software for inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modelling data with the goal of discovering useful information and suggesting conclusions.

The study found that the National Diploma in Office Management and Technology is relevant and suitable in the field of employment and most student were employed in Secretary and Administrative jobs.