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Make the most of it - University grads urged to maximise benefits from low-paying jobs

Published:Sunday | January 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Dr Dana Morris Dixon, executive, business advisory services at the Jamaica National Group

Amid the consistent complaints from fresh university graduates about the low wages being offered in the job market, a senior business executive is imploring them to take advantage of every employment opportunity, despite the initial low remuneration.

Speaking at an undergraduate awards function for students in the Faculty of Social Science at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, last week, Dr Dana Morris Dixon, executive, business development and research adviser at the Jamaica National (JN) Group, made the point that students have to start out somewhere, and that their expensive degrees were not always a trade-off for a job opportunity with fancy titles and high pay.

"It is important to see every job opportunity that comes your way as simply that - an opportunity," she said. "The pay may not be great at first, but it is an opportunity to practise what you have studied at UWI; an opportunity to strengthen your confidence; an opportunity to gain new skills."

Over the years, the Economic and Social Survey published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica has shown a steady growth in the number of students attaining university degrees.

However, in a sluggish economy, growing at between one and two per cent annually, many of them struggle to find jobs higher up on the pay scale and, out of desperation, settle for lower paying jobs.

Still, Morris Dixon argued that such jobs can help build character and refine skills, which will prepare them to take advantage of other opportunities as their professional careers advance.

"If you choose to enter the job market and an internship is the only opportunity available to you, accept it! Accept it and make the best of it. Learn all you can while you are there. No knowledge is useless," she stressed.

According to Morris Dixon, new graduates should also learn to interpret their qualifications, as they sometimes may end up working in the field in which they obtained the degree.

Relating to students how she ended up being recruited by managing director of the JN Group, Earl Jarrett, Morris Dixon stressed the importance of delivering solid work, even if it is voluntary and low-paying.

"You never know where life is going to lead you. There are many opportunities that are going to come to you and you don't even know that there are opportunities. But everything that you do, you have to do it to the best of your ability, because you never know who is watching or evaluating what you are doing," she said.