CHIEF Justice Professor Ibrahim Juma on Friday released shocking statistics, showing that out of 6,225 advocates who graduated at the Law School of Tanzania since its inception in 2008, only 1,594 managed to get jobs in public institutions and government agencies.
Speaking at the admission ceremony of 558 new advocates to the bar at the School’s grounds in Dar es Salaam, Prof Juma pointed out that it was clear that the number of law school graduates who become advocates are more likely to be higher than those who get public sector jobs.
“The largest increase in unemployment of lawyers on permanent basis is an indication or illustration of the consequences of radical changes in economic, social and technological factors that have led to this situation,” the CJ said, adding:“We leaders, as well as the advocates themselves, must understand the changes affecting the work of the lawyers and look for sustainable ways to prevent the increase of lawyers trained professionally for a lot of money being unable to contribute to the economy because of unemployment.”
Giving more details on the issue, the Head of Judiciary explained that statistics from the Employment Secretariat in the Public Service in Tanzania showed that only a small number of law graduates got employment opportunities among those had applied to fill the vacancies.
In the 2011/2012 financial year, he said, the applicants were 157, but only 10, representing 6.3 per cent, got jobs, while in the 2012/2013 financial year, job seekers were 306, but only 186 (60 per cent) were employed.
Statistics also show that in 2013/2014, applicants were 352 and in the 2014/2015 financial year, they were 186, but only 24 or about 6.8 per cent, and 76 representing 40 per cent got employment, respectively.
In the 2015/2016 year, Prof Juma further explained, 160 lawyers applied for jobs, but only 38 representing 23.7 per cent, were successful. There were no statistics released in the 2016/2017 financial year.
More statistics released also indicated that job applicants in the law profession in the 2017/2018 financial year were 3250, but only 88 representing 2.7 per cent were employed, while in the 2018/2019 financial year, 2826 applied but 19 of them, which is 0.6 per cent, were successful.
Prof Juma disclosed further that statistics from the Judicial Service Commission that employs Grade 11 magistrates, shows that very few lawyers who applied for the posts sailed through.
He presented data showing that in 2012, vacancies for magistrates were 300, but the number of applicants was 1600, while in 2013 only 58 magistrates were needed, but eligible applicants were 560.
In 2014, he said, only 52 magistrates were required, but those in the list of applicants were 759 and in 2015, those who applied for the post were 297, but there were only 178 vacancies, while in 2016 the posts to be filled were 284, but the applicants were 793.
According to the CJ, the number of magistrates required in 2017 were 135, but applicants were 431, while in 2019 those sought to become magistrates were 258, but only 27 were employed.
No statistics were released in 2018. Prof. Juma was, however, quick to point out that unemployment for lawyers was not a challenge facing Tanzania alone and there must be an opportunity to learn from the experiences of other countries.
He revealed that lawyers with no permanent jobs in other countries had become accustomed of documenting the experiences they passed through and looked for some solutions.
According to him, the experience of the United States of America in dealing with the challenge, for example, was through provision of special business education and methods of doing business.