Next to Boko Haram and the deadly Ebola virus is un
employment, particularly graduate unemployment. This has been the major issue successive administrations have tried to tackle to no avail.
Fora after fora, including several conferences, have been convened in the past to discuss how our unemployed youths especially graduates that are being turned out of our tertiary institutions of learning, are to be gainfully employed.
So problematic is the issue of unemployment that it has become a canker worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation. As it is, graduate unemployment has become a devastating phenomenon in the lives of graduates.
Unemployment is a serious problem that our government faces. Our leaders should try their utmost best to handle it wisely. If it is not solved sooner, a social revolution may take and provide solution to it.
Since the advent of economic recession in Nigeria, there has been increasing number of graduates in the country who have been unable to find gainful employment in their chosen fields. The main cause of unemployment is the rapid growth in population and the corruption in the country. When population increases, there is every tendency that unemployment will increase thus making it difficult for government to provide employment to the number of graduates that are produced every year.
Infact, each time I think about the unemployment situation in the country, I am often intrigued. I sympathise with those who graduate from tertiary institutions expecting to get jobs that are non-existent. Sometimes some of the graduates ask themselves what the essence of being a graduate is.
With the increase in population of graduates from university and polytechnics each year, including the number already available in the labour market, employment has become a fairy tale.
Even the job-seeking graduates’ plight is worsened by employers demand for years of experience. The question is, how will employment come without first securing a job? And also, if one must be gainfully employed, it is expected to have a “god father” commonly referred to as “man know man”. Most times it is using, “What you have to get what you want”.
Nigeria prides itself as the most populous country in Africa and the second largest economy in the world, but disappointingly, due to years of unbridled corruption, excessive looting, mismanagement and waste, the country has experienced constrained economic growth.
It is pertinent to note that, the nation’s resources are unutilized leading to unemployment and poverty, and this threatens the attainment of the millennium development goals, (MDGs,) in the country.
Graduate unemployment has become so pronounced in the last few decades that it appears to be unending. The cause of graduate unemployment is the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the Nigerian education system. Educational institutions have failed to produce standardized and qualified graduates that are designed to meet the needs of the Nigerian economy. Sometimes, the absence of sufficient information makes it hard for some unemployed Nigerians to get jobs.
Given in the prevailing problems, many persons are under-employed and are paid what I call “starvation allowance.” This class of people are looking for more gainful employment, thus giving no room to the inexperienced job seekers.
According to a recent world Bank statistics on the unemployment situation in Nigeria, graduate unemployment rate is 38 per cent but realistically, 80 per cent of Nigerian graduates are unemployed, and this also includes younger secondary school graduates who mostly dwell among the rural populace.
Another record from the National Bureau of Statistics shows that 24 per cent of the Labour force is unemployed. This translates to about 40 million Nigerians and given the fact that the figure goes up every year, there is need for everyone to be concerned.
However, what complicates that matter is the continuous rise in the number of graduates from the nation’s universities and polytechnics annually. How can this army of unemployed graduates be absorbed when there is no corresponding number of industries in the country and available jobs are hardly enough to absorb the teeming populace.
Recently, a federal agency advertised for recruitment, and the crowd that went for the interview were beyond control, resulting in the death of some of the applicants.
Similarly, another sister agency advertised 25 vacant positions. Because of the incident that occurred, applicants were asked to apply online, but at the end, over 125,000 applications were received.
What then is the way out of this situation? The government should ensure that they provide employment to graduates seeking for job. If the government recognizes that unemployment is a problem, it will be forced to take drastic steps to curb the trend. As a way out, more investments should be attracted to the country.
Muoneke wrote from Port Harcourt.