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Graduate Unemployment in Nigeria

Okwuagbala Uzochukwu writes about youths, social challenges, and engineering, including material-engineering-related topics.

Graduate unemployment in Nigeria. Unemployment among  Nigerian graduates is a big issue.

Graduate unemployment in Nigeria. Unemployment among Nigerian graduates is a big issue.

The issue of high unemployment among University graduates of Federal Republic of Nigeria is not a new thing in the country. It is not unheard as both the small and the big in the country are away of that. Some blame the government of Federal Republic of Nigeria while others blame the graduates themselves concerning the high graduate unemployment in the country. Graduate unemployment in the country has made some of the graduates think beyond the limit they are supposed to which sometimes made them mad.

How many Nigerians graduate from universities each year and out of these numbers, how of them get employed? Each year, 200,000 students graduate from universities, but many fail to find jobs, and some will seek out less than honourable means of supporting themselves (Uzochukwu Mike). Out of these large numbers that leave the four walls of the university each year, only few of them are being employed by companies.

The question is: how many companies function in Nigeria? How many companies are established in the Federal Republic of Nigeria every year? Because of the fact that little companies function in the country, the rate of unemployment in Nigeria will continue to rise until both the government and individuals in the country begin to have a rethink.

The Director, Professional Development Directorate, CIPM, Dr. Charles Ugwu, said in an interview with Punch Newspaper correspondent during the second entrepreneurship/career fair in Abuja,that the the statistics of unemployed Nigerian graduates is 80% (eighty percent). CIMP used implies Charted Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Quoting figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in Abuja as reported by the Nigerian minister of Finance in April, 2014, the minister said that no fewer than 5.3 million youths are jobless in the country (Nigeria), while 1.8 million graduates enter the labour market every year.

A number of factors have been examined and detected as the major causes of joblessness among Nigerian graduates. The factors are both poor government factors and that from the failure of the graduates of the country. Hence, the solutions to high graduate unemployed in Nigeria will be addressed in this piece of write-up.

Causes of Graduate Joblessness in Nigeria

Men who have positive plans about their future have them shattered because of unemployment. The causes of unemployment among Nigerian university graduates are but not limited to:

  • Poor government funding of universities;
  • Poor skill acquisition;
  • Weak industrial support;
  • Graduates Laziness; and
  • Corruption
Poor funding of education as a cause of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. The education sector of Nigeria is not properly funded.

Poor funding of education as a cause of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. The education sector of Nigeria is not properly funded.

Poor Government funding of Universities

It is clear to both goat and fowl that the government of Nigeria is not doing much in spending on the education sector of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Though President Goodluck Jonathan administration is making effort for the improvement in this sector much is needed to be done to put the university education of Nigeria in place. The kind of lip-service that the government of Nigeria pays the education sector of the country is pitiable.

Is the fund allocated to education sector of Nigeria which Nigerian universities is among in accordance to that prescribed by international bodies? In 1997 and 2000, federal government expenditure on education was below 10% of the overall budget. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) advised that in the yearly budget of any country, the educational sector should be allocated 26% of the budget for national and educational development. Looking at the budget made by the Nigerian government in the two years, it becomes clear that that allocated to education sector is lower than 50% of that prescribed by UNESCO.

In the year 2013, the money budgeted by the government of Nigeria still saw poor attention paid to the university sector of the country. The money appropriated to the education sector in the 2013 budget was ₦426.53 billion which amounts to only 8.67% of the total budget (₦4.92 trillion). It is from this amount that the Nigerian universities take their own cut in rebuilding the country’s universities. Due to the fact that the allocation is too small, the universities in Nigeria continue to impact little or nothing to the undergraduates. When these ladies and gentlemen graduates, it becomes problems for them to secure jobs because the quality of attention given to them were weak which made them to acquire little that will help them grow.

Poor skill acquisition

What we see today in Nigeria universities are cartons of theories without practical backup. Without understanding the importance of skill acquisition and then activate it in Nigerian undergraduates, graduate unemployment in Nigeria will not fail to continue taking its place in the country. Lecturers in various Nigerian universities are busy feeding the students with theories and feel less concerned on the practical aspect that will help them secure jobs after their graduations. Theories without practical backup is like someone who was told a story on how to construct latest Honda car without the taught not testing his ability on how to manufacture the car in the real sense.

Does Nigerian universities have solid platform on where the students can go at any time for their practical? Do the universities have the necessary equipment they need to successfully carryout the practical? The truth is that most of the workshops that the undergraduates usually use for their practical have fallen apart. Honestly, things have fallen and are still falling apart in the university education of Nigeria. Even the available devices in many workshops that would have been used to impact knowledge on the undergraduates to help them get jobs after their graduation are outdated.

Weak industrial support as a cause of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. Many manufacturing companies in Nigeria do not support the students during their industrial trainings.

Weak industrial support as a cause of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. Many manufacturing companies in Nigeria do not support the students during their industrial trainings.

Weak industrial support

Another reason why there is rise in joblessness among Nigerian graduates is because companies do not show interest in training these youths. Companies are interested in already made practicing graduates and do not show interest in helping the situation at hand by organizing seminar for these graduates where they will be trained adequately. Many companies and industries in Nigeria are seriously interested in their private profit making without considering helping in solving graduate unemployment in Nigeria by training some of them.

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During students Industrial Training in Nigeria, how many companies in the country agree to train Nigerian undergraduates? This becomes a problem. Those that are to go for industrial training for six months or more spent their time at home after searching for places to receive their industrial training and at the end receive no call from any of the companies. Some industries have sworn that never will they train any Nigerian undergraduate on industrial skills. Some even demand so much financially before they train any of them. How can the problems of unemployment in Nigeria be solved when those who supposed to help are shying away from their duties? This is one of the major challenges in Nigeria and a benefactor to high graduate unemployment in the country.

Graduates Laziness

It is not all about the problems caused by of the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the failure of Nigerian universities to perform their duties, but also due to the laziness of Nigerian graduates in its totality. A lot of Nigerian graduates are too lazy to make proper research to help them in getting jobs that will be of good to them. They heavily depend on what they were taught by their lecturers irrespective of the fact that what they were taught by some of them was outdated.

High dependent of the graduates on the lecturers when they were still students is one of the major reasons why graduate unemployment in Nigeria continues to parade itself in many parts of the country. Many of them fail to think outside the box when they were students as well as after their graduation. Laziness will do Nigerian graduates no good and until they wake up to work and make discovery on how to get employed, the joblessness in the country will not be reduced.


Corruption is the Nigeria’s biggest problem. This menace has eaten very deep into the country’s educational, financial, political, and even religious institutions in the country. Corruption in Nigeria has made a lot of Nigerian graduates to be unemployed. Men are deprived their opportunities of being employed because of high practice of corruption in Nigeria. In the recent 2014 ranking of corruption in Nigeria by the Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked 39th most corrupt country in the world. The 2014 result improved more than that of 2013, when the country was ranked 33rd most corrupt in the world.

It is because of corruption in Nigeria that makes some workers in various organizations to collect the salaries of more than one person. When computing their yearly report, they convey that there are more workers in the organization while there are fewer workers than that being given in the report. They might give report that there are 21 workers in the company while the number of workers in the company is 20. The remaining one person would have been a position for Nigerian graduate but he (the manager) collects the money made for such position. The embezzlement of fund by the government is the reason for high graduate unemployment in the country as the money which as supposed to be used to develop the economy of the country is used in boasting the economy of other countries.

Solutions to Nigerian Graduate Unemployment

What are the solutions to Nigerian graduates unemployment?

First of all, the government of Federal Republic of Nigeria should fund the universities in the country properly. When this is done, skills will be imparted on the undergraduates, which will help them to be self employed after their graduation.

The government of the country should reinforce a Law that is mandatory for companies to accept students who seek for Industrial Training in industries or establishments. A website should be created by the government where students who are rejected by establishments during their search for the training will report the bad treatment. After the report, government officials are to be sent to such establishments and treat the management of the company adequately for such act.

There should be strong anti-corruption group in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When the fight against corruption is Nigeria is won, the embezzlement of the public fund in the country will be minimized. Because of the minimization of such offence, Nigerian fund will be used to generate employment for the graduates through building of more industries and companies.

Graduates should think outside the box to generate new ideas that will create employment for them. Example is exploration of the advantages offered by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). There are many legitimate ways through which Nigerians can make money through the internet which include application design, programming, networking, online publications, affiliate marketing and many others. Any who wants to know how to run any of them can do that personally without paying any body for training. It can be learnt through the internet by searching through search engines like Google and Bing. Without going too far, Nigerian graduates can signup on Hubpages to start publishing articles and earn money from advertisers as one of the means of earning through ICT.


Graduate unemployment in Nigeria is a hot potato (current issue under discussion). The rate at which it increases is alarming. There are many Nigerians who graduated from various universities without jobs till today. The causes and solutions to Nigerian graduates unemployment were explained who are mostly the youths of the country.


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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P


Paul Etim Ekpenyong on March 17, 2020:

I find this writings didactically and interesting.

but i want to major in philosophy and can i have a certificate in cyber security and what job will be there for me? Thanks management

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