According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Labor Force Survey, Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 27% in the second quarter of 2020. According to the survey, the underemployment rate was 29%. Therefore, when combined, 52% of the labour force in Nigeria, is either without jobs or working below potential or pay.
Factors identified as accounting for the increasing rise in the unemployment rate includes; low level of industrialization; slow economic growth; low employability; and quality of the labour force. The slow implementation of the National Labor Policy; and lack of coordinating labour policies at the subnational level has also been identified as contributory factors.
The labour force as of the second quarter of 2020, was 80,291,894 with 59,235,383 employed and 21,764,617 being unemployed. PwC estimates that the labour force is going to increase to 80,500,000 with the unemployment rate increasing from 27% to 28% in the third quarter; and 30% in the fourth quarter.
Adesugba and Mavrotas report that an estimated 2.5 million new labour force enters the nation’s labour market every year; with 1.5 million (60%) of the new entrants being youths who possess only paltry job experience and skills.
Lots of newspapers sold in Nigeria and some firms’ websites within Nigerian are awash with advertisements on graduate job vacancies; some newspapers publish these vacancies weekly others publish twice a week. Some of the posts declared vacant may be re-advertised several times; most often due to lack of qualified applicants.
Employers say that some times, they do not get applications for advertised vacancies. They wonder if the unemployment rate is increasing due to the lack of jobs; or as a result of the unwillingness of young Nigerians to work under anyone.
Given the high educational attainments of the unemployed population in Nigeria; it then becomes pertinent to ask whether the skills; education or qualifications acquired are the ones demanded by the labour market. This, however, goes to show the level of skills mismatch in the country.
This skill mismatch has existed for a long time; and there exists poor alignment between labour market needs and the curriculum the education system teaches. There is a wide gap between theory and practice in universities; such that it becomes difficult to apply taught courses to real-world issues.
Decrying the rot in the education sector, some employers have even complained that many graduates cannot read and write; and do not have adequate numeracy skills. This is evident in the rate at which employers reject corp members.
The Applicants Perspectives
Nigeria’s over 200 million population is made up of mostly youths; and the median age of this population is 18.4 years. Essentially, too many young people are chasing too few jobs.
Applicants have criticised employers for expecting an unreasonable level of work experience and knowledge with no opportunities for mentoring at the beginning phase of the job.
The way out of the unemployment crisis
To solve the unemployment crisis in Nigeria, there is a need for a complete overhaul of the Nigerian educational system starting from the curriculum to the mindsets of the teachers/lecturers; most of which are vindictive.
Secondly, young Nigerians must rise to the occasion and understand their deficit and the need for capacity building. The kind of capacity building referred to here is the practical based hands-on training and not the ceremonial kind that offer numerous certificates of completions without passing the actual skill.
Thirdly, job seekers should not necessarily jump into entrepreneurship without the appropriate preparation and guidance. Although the condition in the country forces many graduates into becoming conditional entrepreneurs, these young graduates must get trained.
When you look at the tech startup community in Nigeria, you will realize that Nigerians have great and viable business ideas but face the hurdle of financing their ideas. Thanks to Foundations such as the Tony Elumelu Foundation that is helping young people create job opportunities through funding their business ideas.
For this and much more Information relating to employability skills, employment opportunities, career advancement and entrepreneurship development; Join our Telegram and WhatsApp groups, and also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.