Unemployment: Job search, Job availability…Are Nigerians employable
Unemployment and it high rate in Nigeria is growing at a supersonic speed. Year after year, the over 100 universities (private, state and federal), polytechnics and colleges churn out Nigerians with various grades of university degrees. Nigerians studying abroad also returns to join the labour market. An estimated 700,000 Nigerians are studying outside the country with Ghana, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Russia, Cyprus, Benin Republic and USA accounting for over 60% of Nigerian students in Diaspora.
Conservatively between 200,000 – 400,000 Nigeria youths aged 24-35 graduate and are open to be employed every year. Imagine if 250,000 (54%) of such are employed and absorbed into the country’s economy annually. Aside the fact it engages them (the employed) and makes them independent of parents it increases productivity which in turn grows the economy yet above all it helps solve some societal ills and increase the number taxable population whilst reducing the number of people living on benefits (assuming the N5000 pocket money to unemployed Nigerians are implemented by the APC as promised in 2016).
On the job classification job availability angle are there really jobs on offer? The answer is YES! Regrettably though the figures are low but if on the amount of the Federal office of statistics report; 150,000 jobs are on offer annually, say the over 200,000 employable graduates are able to access these opening it will be a good step in solving the annual job search wahala Nigeria youths face year on year. With over 150,000 jobs taken each year, Government will be saddled with the responsibility of creating conducive business environment and policies to grow businesses thereby increasing job availability.
As a recruiter and a HR personnel using the above figures how many of the 150,000 jobs on offer is filled? Another sad figure…less than 60,000. Of the 60,000, about 30% of them are on a ‘let’s manage them’ basis. So what could be wrong? The answer is simple; a large proportion of Nigerian graduates are simply UNEMPLOYABLE. What are the causative factors leading to our being unemployable? We could blame them on gross depletion of system and processes. Back in the 70’s and 80’s there were career based institutions that prepare citizens in the career path, teachers as early as 14 set off at Teacher’s Training College (TTC) spread across the country, technical schools were grounds for artisans, craftsmen, our engineers, architects, town planners, surveyors were groomed at Polytechnics. Where are all now? They all are crammed up in craze for university degrees and disregard for the study-work-learn culture. The society is now filled with as Pat Utomi put it recently; “certificated illiterates”. What are the societal effects; square pegs in round holes, dispassionate, disgruntled and unmotivated workforce. Low productivity level thereby leading to low production output and other fall out(s) your mind can work out for you.
What can be done? It’s never too late to retrace a lost step. A synergy between the ministries of education, labour and productivity in formulating a new frame work to address the unending breed of unemployable Nigerians is a must and a needed key strategy in the wind of the APC change mantra. If we are to have a dignified and productive workforce in the next decade, next generation the lead must start with the biggest employer of labour: Government.
Next, I will evaluate on this topic from the individual citizen perspective. Are we on our self doing enough to present ourselves like the biblical five wise virgins ready to be engaged when the groom comes or are we using all the channels of self improvement on inconsequential frivolities?
Member – Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM)
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