Can Speed Dating Initiatives Lead to Better Employment Opportunities in Malawi?
Youth unemployment is a pervasive global problem. In Malawi, one third of unemployed youth remain jobless for more than 2 years. The most important youth employment barriers include information frictions and limited job-search abilities among young people. Typically, information frictions arise because of high search costs, or employers advertising job vacancies through channels that are unfamiliar and less accessible by jobseekers. Limited job-search abilities are common among young graduates as evidenced by substandard job-search products (application letters/resumes) or shoddy job-search behaviors (interview behavior). The study investigates the effectiveness of reducing job-search costs and improving job-search competency on employment-success outcomes (job interviews and job offers). We hypothesize that acquisition and disclosure of soft skills either through provision of certificates or speed-dating (during an employment fair) could nudge prospective employers to hire this set of graduates with additional skills. Employers’ feedback will guide higher-education curriculum design in order to produce career-ready graduates.