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Youths bemoan shrinking job opportunities


Hire-me• Feel cut off from years of experience requirement
• Trade/services sector dominate entry level demand
• Lagos accounts for largest number of applicants

Constant reduction in job opportunities, especially white-collar jobs as a result of the economic recession in Nigeria, has again been brought to the fore by the huge ratio of able bodied youths roaming the streets in search of the elusive jobs.
The Guardian investigations revealed that about 70 per cent of young graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions are not engaged, leaving a multiplier effect on the nation’s economy that is presently ravaged by recession.Besides, the little opportunities available in firms are basically reserved for foreign graduates against their local counterparts.

Investigations also revealed that some of the available slots are also being filled by foreigners usually referred to as ‘expatriates’.
The situation is further compounded by the fact that employers rarely want anything to do with inexperienced youths, requesting for years of experience they are yet to acquire.

For instance, statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that youth unemployment increased to 21.5 per cent from 19 per cent. Unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 9.04 per cent from 2006 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 19.70 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009, and a record low of 5.10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010.

NBS put unemployment rate at 12.1 per cent in March 2016, up from 10.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, reaching the highest since December of 2009. The number of unemployed persons rose by 18 per cent to 9.485 million, while employment grew a meagre 0.12 per cent to 69 million and labour force went up per cent to 78.4 million.Also, data from Jobberman, an online recruitment report showed that the experience levels requested the most are one to three years.
“Only two industries Trade/Services and Insurance requested for entry level jobs the most often. The remaining eight industries all required more than three years experience. The high proportion of entry level vacancies in total reflects the dominance of the trade/services sector in the number of vacancies advertised, in the sector 34.4 per cent of jobs advertised were entry level,” it stated.
The report added that Lagos accounted for the largest share of applications and vacancies, as 53.73 per cent recorded applicants were based in Lagos with a slight increase from the fourth quarter 2015, in which 52.72 per cent were from the state.Lamenting the unavailability of job opportunities in the country, a graduate from Obafemi Awololowo University, Bukola Adegebsan, said it is unfair for employers of labour to keep requesting for many years of experience from applicants, when all they had is experience from the youths service.
She added that Nigeria is not helping the youths in their job search, “because even as a student on internship placement you have to lobby, appeal, before you will get the opportunity to be fixed somewhere, not to talk of vocation where no one even wants you for freelancing.”
According to her, for youths to be gainfully engaged, government as well as employers of labour must create wide and diverse opportunities to enable such situations.
Similarly, a graduate from Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, Seun Akinbehinje, expressed frustrations that even the few job spaces available had already been occupied by “connected” candidates irrespective of their competence and qualifications.  
Another graduate from University of Lagos, Adeboye Olayemi, blamed the government for the current economic recession in the country, adding that if graduates were gainfully employed, it would boost economic growth in Nigeria.“Many strong and agile youths are at home, roaming the streets.  Our leaders should note that if this continues it will create more avenues for breeding of miscreants for Boko haram and Niger Delta    Avengers,” he said.   

The Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos State Council, Comarde Idowu Adelakan, said the union does not support any organisation requesting years of experience without giving the youths opportunities to work.

“How can employers expect graduates to gather experience without creating jobs for them to learn from the profession? Rome wasn’t built in a day, if all these youths are given the privilege, they will be of more use to the economy?” he argued.

He noted that the high rate of unemployment in the country is heating up the polity and increasing the rate of crimes and criminal activities, and urged government to take the issue of handling unemployment more seriously.

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