Youth and Their Search for Decent Employment Attitudes and Aspirations of Arts Undergraduates in Sri Lanka

H. D. P. Premarathne, N. K. Kulasekara


This study focuses on themes related to the issues regarding employmentprospects of local Arts undergraduates that continue to require the attention of allstakeholders. The primary objective of the research is to explore the basic factors thataffect Arts graduates when seeking employment. Consideration was given to bothexternal factors such as socio-economic dynamics and internal factors such asmotivation and interests of the students.

Students of Bachelor of Arts degree programme have different aspirationsregarding their studies and job prospects. This study was conducted to assess; their levelof satisfaction of being Arts undergraduates; job preferences and problems they facewhen getting decent employments.

250 students of who entered the Colombo University in 2011 to follow BAdegree programme were selected randomly according to admission register. Data wasgathered using an interviewer administered questionnaire and focus group discussions;223 students belonging to all ethnic groups from different socio-economic backgroundsresponded and four focus group discussions were carried out during a three monthperiod with their consent.

Majority of the Arts undergraduates (79%) aspire to join in local as well asgovernment employments. 21% are interested in private sector jobs and intend tomigrate for any job. However, poor proficiency in the English language and lack of softskills limit their academic and career opportunities.

Thus, it is important to develop attitudinal changes in them regardingemployments in other sectors while encouraging acquiring the necessary technical, softskills and language proficiency. It would be a significant step to minimize underemploymentand un-employment situation among them.

Key words: Undergraduate, Interest, Attitudes, Aspiration, Employment

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