Much of the talk in Nigeria since the turn of the year has been
about the biting economic crisis which has been triggered by a dip in
global oil prices.
As the country’s main export and largest source of revenue, the fall
in oil prices has resulted in lower foreign exchange earnings for the
country which will, this year, be running a record deficit budget.
So far, the stock market and currency slide have been the key
indicators for the crisis but a survey by Jobberman, a leading
recruitment agency in the West African region, provides another damning
According to the survey, taken by almost 90,000 people, 47% of the
country’s university graduates are unemployed in Africa’s largest
economy. By some estimates Nigerian tertiary education institutions
produce up to 500,000 graduates every year and there are also Nigerian
graduates who study abroad who come home to compete for jobs.
Jobberman describes the new data as a sign of the “need for urgent
actions on both public and private sector operators”. In the last few
years, as the number of unemployed university graduates has climbed,
employers have attributed the problem to the quality of university
education and have described some graduates as ‘unemployable’ as they
lack required skills. Nigeria’s university system, which holds about 150
schools, is mostly over-populated and can only cater to 40% of
applicants annually. This suggests that universities likely struggle to
deliver quality education as resources are stretched.
According to Jobberman, ways to solve the problem include creating
secondary skills development and acquisition programs as well as
government investment in job creation schemes. President Buhari insists
job creation is a priority for his government and has drawn a link
between unemployment and the country’s insecurity concerns.