How far would you go to get a job? Would you beg by the side of a busy street for it? If you don’t have the stomach for that, then some desperate young graduates in South Africa and Nigeria have you beat. They are fully prepared to pose in public, holding placards with their credentials written in bold letters.

“0827661789. I have B-Tech CHEMICAL ENGINEERING. PLEASE HELP!!! I NEED A JOB. CV IN MY POSSESSION,” read the placard of Anthea Malwandle who started the “placard job seeker” trend in South Africa

Malwandle, who graduated from the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) with a chemical engineering degree in 2015, was called to interview at Sosal, a chemical and energy multinational, after a morning radio show host called her up due to the social media interest she had stirred up. Many other potential employers also phoned in seeking to offer her a job.

The trend has found a particularly eager set of adopters in Nigeria

Placard job seeker trend hits Nigeria

In the wake of Malwandle’s newfound success in the job market, other young graduates, desperate for work have decided to emulate her. The trend has found a particularly eager set of adopters in Nigeria, where Lilian Chinyere Douglas-Ezeugo, a newly minted computer science graduate herself, was the first to give it a try. Lilian stood on Lagos road, a busy thoroughfare, with a placard of her own and, within hours, photos of her were doing rounds on social media.

Like Malwandle, Lilian now has the world at her feet and last week she even managed to get a meeting with Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The change in Lilian’s circumstances as a job seeker have inspired others to copy her tactics and, as several Nigerian news outlets have put it, “take the bull by the horns.”

Like Malwandle, Lilian now has the world at her feet

Not too happy with the trend

Believing it’s not practical in the long run and encouraging government inaction in creating jobs for the youth, many in Nigeria and South Africa are against the job seeker placard trend.

Others, like Facebook user Patiswa Patty Qakaza, also think it won’t work for everyone and encouraged job seekers to try out their own approaches instead of aping what others are doing.

Plenty of support for the trend too

Which is not to say that the job seeker placard trend hasn’t received the endorsement of many South Africans and Nigerians, some of whom don’t understand the backlash against those who have taken job hunting to a whole new level.

In South Africa, unemployment now stands at 26.7 %

A reflection of hard economic times

It’s perhaps no surprise that the job seeker placard trend is catching on so fast in Africa’s two biggest economies. In South Africa, unemployment now stands at 26.7 %, and of the estimated 5 million people without jobs, 3.5 million of them are under 35. In Nigeria the situation is even more dire with youth unemployment/underemployment currently standing at 42.24 %. Some experts say the actual number is way north of that figure.

If these bleak statistics are any indication, the number of unemployed youth taking extraordinary measures to get jobs can only increase.