Youth Unemployment In Nigeria

By Ikenga Chronicles October 18, 2019

Youth Unemployment In Nigeria

–By Phoebe Nebechukwu

Her’s was a sad case, Bola had finished from the prestigious University of Ibadan and had successfully bagged a first class with the hope of getting employed into the working sector, top notch firms and companies. But the reverse of her wish was what she got and had to wait for three years before she was employed by a secondary school to teach English, which she had no solid foundation in because she was a graduate of Mathematics Engineering.

According to Wikipedia, unemployment is a situation in which able bodied people who are looking for a job cannot find one. Voluntary unemployment is attributed to the individual’s decisions whereas involuntary unemployment exists because of the socio-economic environment (including the market structure, government intervention and the level of aggregate demand) in which individuals operate.

As Nigeria’s youth population grows, so does it’s unemployment rate of the unemployed youths (over 11 million) the majority been females and rural dwellers. According to the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigeria presently has 43 federal universities, 52 state universities and 79 private universities. By some estimates, Nigerian tertiary education institutions produce up to 500,000 graduates every year and there are also Nigerians who study abroad who come home to compete for jobs.

The number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018 according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Older Nigerians speak of a past when young graduates had jobs lined up even before they graduated. The reverse is the case today.

It is doubtful if past government policies have not resulted in massive unemployment.

Unemployment rate in Nigeria has continued to be on the increase despite the abundant human and natural resources available in the country. Chronic youth unemployment is evident in Nigeria, as Nigerian streets are littered with youth hawkers who ordinarily would have found gainful employment in some enterprise.

The large number of youths who are unemployed is capable of undermining democratic practice as they constitute a serious threat if engaged by the political class for clandestine and criminal activities.

Unemployment in Nigeria has led to the increase in crime rates and has resulted to Nigeria’s set back and problems.

It is estimated that about 64 million Nigerians are unemployed, while 1.6 million are under-employed. Nigeria remains crippled with massive unemployment levels to continue to exact a considerable toil on it’s socio-economic prospects.

Furthermore there are so many causes of unemployment in Nigeria, which include rapid rural-urban migration. The rate at which young people move from the rural areas to the urban centres in Nigeria is alarming. For Sarr (2000), youths migrants in Africa are three times more in number than other continents of the world. About 50% of the youths in Africa reside in the urban areas where job opportunities are limited to a few modern sectors and establishments.

Another cause is rapid population growth. The growth in population rate has resulted in rapid growth of the labour force which is far higher than the rate of jobs supply. The increasing population growth has produced an overwhelming increase in the size of the working age population.

Also, inappropriate school curriculum causes youth unemployment. As far as the formal sector is concerned, the average Nigerian graduate is unemployable because of lack of necessary skills needed by the employers of labour for a formal employment.

To the policy makers and the youths themselves, employment means a job with salary and working for someone else. This perception has continued to influence the educational institutions in Nigeria that provide skills and training for the employment market. But since these jobs do not exist, there is often a mismatch between the skills possessed by the job seekers and the available jobs.

Unemployment causes frustration, dejection, desperation and dependency on family members and friends who have their own problems to contend with. This precarious situation has left the youths in a vicious cycle of poverty that daily erodes their confidence and bright future.

Creativity and dexterity should be encouraged as youths acquire different vocational skills by so doing they will be job creators than job seekers. Vocational and technical education should be vigorously pursued. Government should provide soft loans to the trained youths as take-off capital for their entrepreneurial ideas.

Consequently, rural- urban migration should be checked through the provision of essential social amenities that will make life in the rural areas attractive to the youths. Uncurbed population growth is a recipe for disaster, as it would readily create an army of unemployed people, who could turn to crime as survival strategy.

There should be public enlightenment campaigns on the dangers of population explosion and it’s adverse effect on national development. If all these solutions stated in this article are taken into consideration, then Nigerian youths would have more faith to pursue their career and the socio-economy of the nation would be a better place.

  • Written by Phoebe Nebechukwu, a 200 level Communication and Language Art student at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria
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