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Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Are you being haunted by the dilemma called unemployment? Well, you're not alone; a large portion of the workforce is going through same issue, but there will always be a way out.

The truth is unemployment is a major economic issue around the world. The developed and developing economies alike experience it, but the degree varies. As we can see, the rate of unemployment in African is on the increase and Nigeria seems to the leader in unemployment due to her population.

Considering the situation in Nigeria, which is our main focus in Africa, the unemployment rate is almost getting out of proportion, as it has been on a steady increase as the years go by.

 According to the Federal Bureau of statistics, unemployment rate is at 14.2%, which amounts to 28.5 million of the labour force.

In this post, we shall be looking at the causes, while the next post will talk about the way out of it.

Below are the causes of unemployment in Nigeria:

1. EPILEPTIC POWER SUPPLY: Foreign Direct investors consider a number of factors before investing in a country, one of which is the stability of power supply. Unfortunately Nigeria is a country with power supply deficit and as such has hindered most of these investors from coming into the country.

The investors for manufacturing refer setting up their businesses in neigbouring countries for manufacturing and other operations and only come to Nigeria to sell their products.  You can imagine the effect this can have on our unemployed population.

I could remember in 2007, when Michelin moved out of Nigeria. We were told they left because they were spending so much in generating power for their operations. A number of companies, especially manufacturers have moved out of Nigeria.

Besides, local operators go through a lot of hassles just to have and maintain power supply for their business. Those wanting to go into business, having considered the nature of power supply are having a rethink.

A lot of businesses would have been birthed and developed, but for the power nature in Nigeria. I point in case is internet business. I know a number of graduates that got frustrated out of the business due to the nature of power supply. Blogging for instance, require stable power supply without which the blogger will be out of business.

The way out of the blogging dilemma is to generate power for yourself, but what happens when one cannot generate power, especially at the beginning stage when one is trying to set up and grow the business?

According to the Minister of Communications, Abdur-raheem Adebayo Shittu, says, ICT and Ecommerce has the capacity of employing  40 million Nigerians. Think about this!

A manufacturer of building materials and other industrial materials packed up his business in 2013 due to the power supply. According to him, he cannot make profit from the business generating stable power for the business. Today, most of his staff members are still unemployed.

2. OVER DEPENDENCE ON OIL AND GAS: Ever since the oil boom in 1976, the focus on the Agricultural sector, which had been the main stay of the economy, has been on the decline by the day.  The government and individuals at some point saw the oil & Gas sector as the only sector to make quick money, as such jobs were not created in other sectors to absorb the unemployed, since the oil sector alone cannot employ everyone.

The agricultural sector alone has the capacity of employing 70% Nigerian workforce. Before the oil boom, Groundnut pyramids were the mainstay of the North, Cocoa for West, Coal for East, Palm nuts & Rubber for East and mid-west. Malaysia which is about the highest palm nut producer in the world, got her first seed from Nigeria.

Job opportunities that should be harnessed in other sectors are just lying fallow to the detriment of the Oil & gas sector. Thanks to the champions of the New Agricultural Revolutions and other sectors.

3. POOR QUALITY OF EDUCATION: Though the standard of education in developing countries are higher than that of developed countries, poor quality of education is  also a problem in some developed countries; the Enterprise in the develop countries also has the challenge of the school curriculum not meeting up with the demands in the Enterprise. This results in poor quality of Education, as compared to the demands of the Enterprise, but the problem is adequately managed.

The Enterprise in the developing countries, on the other hand, do not have adequate system of managing the products of the poor educational sector. As such, it becomes obvious that the products cannot fit into the Enterprise for maximum productivity.  

In developing countries, the school curriculum and standard of education does not match really make the products of the schools system employable.  This challenge has made employers prefer products of foreign institutions for employment.

I read a survey by Phillips Consulting, Nigeria that says graduates from foreign institutions are more employable than Nigerian graduates. One of the reasons was that foreign graduates have more analytical thinking skills, which is lacking in the Nigerian graduate.  

4. LACK OF SKILLS: Knowing fully well that every skill cannot be acquired in the classroom, most job seekers do not develop themselves to possess the skills required for employment. Note that Entrepreneurship and salary jobs are both employment. Having the right skills have a way of making one standout. For me, it is almost impossible for one to possess and project the right skills and still remain unemployed, not even for a season.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 200,000 graduates are produced annually from Nigerian Tertiary institutions and only a hand full of them  are fully employed upon graduation.

Reason: Teaching facilities and lecturers are ill-equipped to deliver value to the students.  Yet we have graduates from well-equipped schools with that never settled down to learn.  Both categories come out of school with little or no knowledge in their various fields.

Vocational training centres are disdained by job seekers; they think vocational skills are for the never-do-well in the society, as such, time spent on acquiring skills is a waste.

Upon graduation, most graduates think learning ended in school. So they go about with the mindset of, “ I’m good to go.”

5. INSISTING ON WHITE COLLAR JOBS: Some job seekers fail to understand the fact that white collar jobs are not the only jobs that guarantee a better living.  Everyone wants to be in the office operation computers and moving files from one point to the other; this notion has made a lot of job seekers reject potential jobs, hence still being unemployed.

6. BEING TOO SELECTIVE: The average graduate in Nigeria sees him/herself as being too big for certain jobs. They prefer sitting at home rather than doing certain jobs they think are too small for them. Being too selective has a way of hindering ones job prospect even when the so-called right jobs show up. How do I mean? Doing other smaller or negative jobs have a way of developing ones skills that may be required for ones the ideal jobs.

A number of folks have missed out on their ideal jobs when opportunities were presented for the simple reason that they were not having the required skills that they may have acquired or developed in other jobs.

7. FOCUSING ON SALARY: A lot of us are captivated by the mindset: Go to school and get a good job. Getting a good job is seen as the only means to a better living and successful life. And so everyone comes out looking for the next available good job, ignoring Entrepreneurship.

The truth is that the so-called ‘good jobs’ never show up for some people, for ‘ages.’ Some end up bartered, shattered and frustrated.  Some have the capacity to become Entrepreneurs and create employment, but will never do it because they want to be with the ‘bad wagon.’

8. NEGLECTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Entrepreneurship which is the driver of any economy is not really encouraged. Though we have several jingles about Entrepreneurship being the major way out of unemployment, it is not given the required support by government and the private sector.

9. SELF BELIEVE & RESPONSIBILITY: Most job seekers lack  these qualities; they think someone else should pilot their lives for them.  They blame everyone- government, relatives, friends, religious leaders ……. for their condition.

They don’t believe in what they can do for themselves to come out of their unemployed state. Self believe and taking responsibility can go a very long way in solving the unemployment dilemma plaguing Africa, if only the unemployed can realize this.

10. FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES: Attending to some family issues have made some people unemployed for some time. Mothers fall into this category. They stay away from work or business to nurse and raise their kids for a period.  There are people that also stay off to take care of aged or sick family members.
11. LACK OF CHARACTER: Have you ever assessed your character?  Are you loyal? Do you have integrity? Are you hardworking?  Do you have emotional intelligence?  Your skills and connections can get you a job, but only character can keep you. Most job seekers lack character. People without character find it difficult to secure employment and when they do, they are easily thrown out.

In this part of the world where cutting corners is seen as a way of life, in most cases, employers are on the haunt for people with character.  Character is a major factor for building a successful business.

12. CORRUPTION: Corruption in both public and private sectors of the economy has caused unemployment. Funds meant for public use are being diverted for personal use. This act has hindered the growth and development of the Enterprise in Africa, especially in Nigeria.

When funds meant for the creation of enabling environment for the enterprise to flourish are embezzled, the result is massive unemployment.

There is also favouritism, nepotism and tribalism in both private and public sectors, when it comes to employment. Businesses go down on a daily basis due to the rate at when employees siphon funds.

A business that should be expanding and employing more staff will be at a spot due to siphoning of funds by employees, board members, greedy Entrepreneurs and the like.

There are cases of Ghost workers both in private and public sectors, but is almost uncontrollable in the public sector. Imaginary names are on payrolls and the pay pack goes to one man or a group of people without the job being done.

13. ECONOMIC CRISIS: One of such crisis is Recession This is a period when economic activities experience a downturn. At such times, it’s no longer businesses as usual, as businesses can no longer meet up with their financial obligations due to low patronage which results in losses, in most cases.

During recession, businesses have no choice than to lay off a good number of their workforce or cut down on pay pack. Employees laid off from work find it difficult to secure another job.

In Nigeria, millions are out of job in the past 2 years and the situation is not getting any better.

CONCLUSION: Time and space will not permit me to say it all. As we can see, the reason for unemployment is mostly artificial; it is deliberately created by man for man. The main deal right now is not focusing on the problem, but the solution. I do hope you’ve started making adjustments. The solutions will be discussed in our next note.

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