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Essays

Unemployable Professionals

02 April 2011

I am an IT professional, who is African, who specialises in software development. I have 14 years behind my name as an astute and competent professional, who has worked across various industries and technology sectors.

According to research, South Africa has a shortage of technical skills, and software developers are among those scarce skills needed. This you can attest by the number of job openings available for software developers in the country.

A few months ago, I found out that I had a criminal record, which I had no idea existed! I still do not know what this is about, I am yet to get my criminal record from the Criminal Records Centre in Pretoria.

My cv is most impressive, since I have largely been successful in my career. I have practical experiences to point to of my success, and past employers willingly endorse my work.

I resigned from my previous job in November 2010, following a frustrating and emotionally intense working environment. I was employed as a Senior Java Developer. Without saying much about my reasons for leaving my last job, suffice to say my working conditions had detoriarated badly, and I could not continue working in such an environment; if my sanity was to be saved.

I took time off from work and rested before bothering to look for another job. In February 2011, I started actively looking for a job, and many potential employers were keen to see me and talk. I saw them and we talked, and some were interested in making employment offers. Good so far.

But problems started arising when it came to offer stage. None of the offers materialised, and I started to wonder why. So I enquired and found out that these offers have been withdrawn because it turns out I have a criminal record. As said earlier, I still don't know what crime I commited, but I am not getting any work because I have a criminal record; which has not existed in all the 14 years of my working life.

Now it bothers me to think, are people with criminal records excluded from the economy? Does this mean I can no longer work? Does this mean my career is over?

What does the future holds for people in my present predicament?