I know what you are thinking, “unemployment again?” We will agree that unemployment in Nigeria is no stranger to the average Nigerian; you see and hear it on the news, read it in articles and it is all over social media. Moreover, It is indeed a phenomenon that forms the basis for many conversations today but beyond discussions about how bad the situation is, what really is the way forward? How do we bring down the alarming figures and put millions of Nigerians in gainful employment.
There is a blame game going on in the country, as we know it – we have potential employees pointing fingers at the government for not creating enough jobs; governments at different levels blaming the private sector for not doing their best; players in the private sector are of the opinion that potential employees are unemployable and the situation becomes packed with a lot of elements that leaves everyone confused. Most importantly, there is the need to analyze the situation and proffer solutions. However, This would require the input of all stakeholders because the sustainability of Nigeria is at stake when unemployment is inadequately addressed.
Firstly, For unemployment to significantly reduce in Nigeria, there has to be a thriving economy in place. This creates a basis for employment. The constituents of a thriving economy must be well developed. Besides, Nigeria’s economy is overly dependent on a poorly managed oil sector and a host of underdeveloped ancillary sectors such as agriculture, tourism, services, energy, and so on. All of these make the cost of doing business ridiculously high.
According to the latest Doing Business Index by The World Bank, Nigeria ranks 131 out of 190 countries and territories evaluated for their ease of doing business. With stats and realities such as this, organisations do not operate optimally and are very skeletal with hiring labour. Many companies that cannot cope at all leave the country or shut down operations which leads to further burden on an already encumbered situation.
Nigeria has a struggling value chain. The service sector is working below its potential. Services, according to Hon. Kehinde Sogunle, Chief Solutions Architect at LEAD Resources, is what connects production with consumption. When most of the sectors are not working and there is no production, the service industry does not have much to offer, hence, another deficit.
The prevailing political conditions such as banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism have impeded on people’s freedom. This makes people very wary of launching new business and scaling existing ones. When one of the basic needs such as safety is threatened, the chances of attending to other needs are reduced. With uncertainties come lethargy.
Summarily, in tackling unemployment, all hands must be on deck. There are two extremes on the labour scale – the Labour Supply side and the Labour Demand Side; players on both extremes must participate to alleviate the problem. On the Labour Supply side, there are players such as potential employees themselves, parents, educational institutions, and so on and on the Labour Demand side, employers across different industries in the public and private sectors.
For instance, many tertiary institutions in Nigeria merely certify students after a number of years and send them off to the labour market without the prerequisite skills and competencies for being optimally productive in the workplace. This places a demand, an unfair one on Nigerian graduates, to seek out and master these skills by themselves. They have to do this by multitasking between getting a respectable degree and learning skills that are useful within the same timeframe.
To further understand this subject, listen to our podcast featuring Hon. Kehinde Sogunle.
Victor Ogunsesan is a Graduate Solutions Intern at LEAD Resources Nigeria. He is an experienced Human Resource Management, Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility enthusiast. A versatile Mass Communication Graduate from Bowen University, Iwo. He is very passionate about SDG 13. Victor is very innovative and loves to make people’s lives easier. He is a minimalist, likes to read and loves to pray.
Taiwo Oreoluwa Sobowale is a Graduate Solutions Intern at LEAD Resources. A graduate of Linguistics from the University of Ibadan. Taiwo is an Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Podcaster and an experienced Human Resource Administrator. She is a strong believer of Internship and an advocate for using it as a tool for Personal Development and Employability.