The dire unemployment situation in Nigeria is worrisome. Many graduates in the country continue to face challenges with finding employment and this is a widespread concern. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has linked unemployment in Nigeria to the phenomenon of a jobless growth economy, increased number of school graduates with no matching job opportunities, a moratorium on employment in many public and private sector institutions, and continued job losses in several sectors within the country.
It is without doubt that Nigeria has experienced a sustained period of economic growth in the last decade but this is without a corresponding improvement in employment. Over 42% of Nigerian youth remain unemployed and a larger percentage are underemployed. This figure was projected to further increase in 2022 particularly with the youth unemployment rate taking the chunk of that with 50% and this comes to about 25-30m Nigerian youth.
The depth of Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is particularly evident amongst Nigerian youth with about 2 in 5 youths between the ages of 15 and 35 affected and unemployed. With an economy just exiting recession and grappling with sustainable economic growth, tackling youth unemployment is an urgent imperative and validates our ethos at EnterpriseNGR.
There are many interventions both public and private sectors driven- some of which are disruptive with the use of technology. Most of these are all targeted at solving this problem through entrepreneurship. So many funding opportunities, capacity building trainings, entrepreneurship support, consulting, advisory and many more that are targeted at enterprise development but only a few focusing on employability and internship placements for our young and vibrant youth who are either employable but not employed or can be upskilled and prepped to become employable.
EnterpriseNGR has identified employability and unemployment issues as one that will come back to bite us all if it’s not looked into and nipped in the bud early enough. This constitutes part of the reason why we are heavily invested in supporting young Nigerians to make meaning of their lives through employability channels. Our graduates constantly face long- term unemployment or underemployment challenges due to various factors including the increasing demand from the workplace. They will be unable to find work until they obtain the relevant skills that are in high demand within the ecosystem and the future of work.
Furthermore, there is the need for the redesign of our tertiary institution curricular such that they are more robust and inclusive with content closing the skills gap that our potential employees do not have. By gaining these skills, they become relevant and attractive to employers, employable and better positioned for job opportunities.
There is the need to sensitize and create awareness of the skills for the future and this can be done through programmes and interventions from the university level with the aim of resetting the mindsets of our youth even before they graduate.
There is the need for employers to shift their focus from people who are already employed to people who are not employed, upskill them to close the skills gap and then give them the opportunity to work. We can find them within Universities, Nigerian Youth Service Corp and just out of the Nigerian Youth Service Corp. This is infact where the gap is. There is need for them to closely partner with such organizations as EnterpriseNGR to assess their employment gaps, project their employment needs over the next 5 to 10 years, and to map an employment road map to fill this gap so they can meet their growth plans now and in the future.
As with many other countries around the world, COVID-19 had a significant impact on Nigeria’s population and the structure of work and career advancement and so now more than ever, the urgency for the adoption of workable strategies that produce future ready employees (employable youth) is pertinent given the burgeoning youthful population of the country.
At EnterpriseNGR, we are building a network of growth companies and a community of highly employable Nigerian youth equipped with the skills for the future and prepped up for the future of work!